Last week, rail enthusiast Mark Smith on Reddit mapped out possibly the world’s longest train journey, with specific details on train lines and cities along the journey. The entire trip will take approximately 21 days, kicking off in Portugal, and ending in Singapore (and vice-versa). This route is only made possible due to the recent opening of the Boten-Vientiane railway, a new line in Laos that connects Kunming, China to the Laotian capital. 

Taking a train instead of the convenient, faster air travel option would not make too much sense, but at a mere cost of $1700 on train tickets (and environmentally-friendly as well!), while visiting 11 popular destinations along the journey, you might change your mind! ?

P.S. Check out 10 best train journeys in the world with the most breathtaking views! Perhaps this might make you board the world’s longest train journey! 

11 Destinations Along The World’s Longest Train Journey That You Wouldn’t Want To Miss

1. Portugal

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We kick off the journey from Lagos to the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon! The entire ride takes approximately four hours and requires at least one or two changes in either the small city of Tunes or Faro! According to Smith, there are two websites for you to book a train to Lisbon and other destinations in Portugal, so check out both to see which one fits your budget and schedules better!

As one of Western Europe’s most affordable capital cities, Lisbon is perfect for budget travellers. Not sure what to do in Lisbon? We got you covered with a Muslim-friendly itinerary when you’re there! ☺️

2. France

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After experiencing Lisbon’s timeless beauty, it’s time to head to Paris! Unfortunately, there is no direct train between both cities, but there are two ways to head to Paris, with overnight stops at some of Europe’s beautiful places such as Madrid, Barcelona and less-travelled yet stunning Spanish cities like Vigo and San Sebastian. 

Once you’ve reached Paris, there are plenty of exciting things in store for you! From luxurious shopping trips, iconic monuments, stunning cultural sites and amazing French pastries and cuisines, it’s no wonder this city is on so many of our bucket lists! Check out our recommendations on halal eateries you have to try on your next French vacay in the City of Love! ?

P.S. Read on our writer’s first-timer guide to riding a train across Europe!

3. Moscow

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Next stop: Moscow, Russia! Moscow may not often be at the top of our travel lists, but their beautiful cathedrals, palace-like metro stations and culturally-rich history are solid proof that this city has a lot more to offer! 

If you’re still not convinced, we’re giving you 15 reasons why you should visit the Russian capital at least once

There is currently one way for you to go to Moscow, as the direct Paris-Moscow Express is currently not in operation due to Covid-19. You can try their Warsaw-Moscow sleeper train, which may not be as glamorous, but it’s extremely comfortable and runs every day, unlike the Paris-Moscow Express. The added bonus here is you get to travel to another less-travelled but emerging tourist destination, Warsaw, the historical capital of Poland! It’s a perfect location for first-time travellers to Eastern Europe and history buffs! ?

P.S. If we convince you well enough to book your next vacation trip to Moscow, you have to check out these 8 essential tips from our writer’s experience in Moscow

4. Beijing

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For train enthusiasts, the top of their bucket list would definitely be a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway line in the world! You’ll be getting picturesque views of what Russia has to offer from the comfort of your seat. Especially in winter, it almost seems like you’re boarding on The Polar Express! ?

Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, all international train services between Russia, China and Mongolia are suspended. So here’s to hoping we can experience this in the future! Meanwhile, you can still plan a future trip to the capital with us! For first-timers, we have everything you need to know for your first trip! There’s also plenty of halal options in Beijing, so you have to check it out here!

5. Kunming

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Next on the list is Kunming! From Beijing to Kunming, you can choose to board either their sleeper train or the high-speed train! If you’re on a budget, or simply want to maximise the train experience, choose the sleeper train! Those who can spend a little more cash, their high-speed train would take you to your destination faster! Kunming is one of China’s underrated cities! It’s full of historical sites, astounding sceneries such as this breathtaking view from the Dragon’s Gate (Longmen) located at the top of Xishan Forest Park, and also houses a notable Hui Muslim population, which makes this city a Muslim-friendly place! ? 

Need more convincing? We give you 8 reasons, which will change your mind! You’re going to want a guide to conquer Kunming now that you’re convinced, so check it out!

6. Laos

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Laos is also another underrated country to visit in Southeast Asia! From their famous Mekong River to their stunning 50m natural Kuang Si waterfall in Luang Prabang, Laos is a place nature lovers have to visit! On Dec 3rd, the Boten-Vientiane railway opened, linking the Chinese border with Luang Prabang and Vientiane, which made the world’s longest train journey possible! Did you know that Laos is one of the places to explore the great outdoors in Southeast Asia? And, it is surprisingly affordable! You don’t have to be a nature lover to go to Laos, there are even more exciting activities for you to do there as well! ?

7. Bangkok

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Once you’re done nature-hopping around in Laos, board on the daily sleeper train and get well-rested because we’re going to the crown jewel of Southeast Asian food, Bangkok! After all this travelling, treat yourself to some delicious authentic halal Thai cuisine, and endless shopping! If you need some ideas on what to do in Bangkok, we got you covered with the only Muslim-friendly travel guide you’ll ever need! If you want the specifics, our 4-day 3-night itinerary will break down what you can do in the Thai capital! ?

8. Padang Besar, Perlis

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Take on the 46 International Express overnight from Bangkok to Padang Besar, a border town located in the north of Perlis, in a cosy sleeper that provides meals as well! Padang Besar has been a popular shopping haunt among Malaysians and Thais, so if you didn’t manage to snag up any souvenirs, or your Bangkok shopping spree simply wasn’t enough (we love it!), this is your place! Perlis itself has a number of attractions for you to do! This state may be the smallest in Malaysia, but it’s big on adventure! Read what our contributor has to say on her mesmerising trip to the state! ?

9. Penang

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Foodies, here’s another place you definitely cannot miss! Board on the train from Padang Besar station to the street food capital of Malaysia, Penang! From nasi kandar and asam laksa to chendol and char kway teow, there's no shortage of delicious halal food in Penang. You can check out our specially curated itinerary that has the best food spots of what Penang has to offer! ?

P.S. You will arrive at Butterworth station first! To head to the capital, Georgetown, you can board a 15-min ferry!

10. Kuala Lumpur

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One last stop before going home! Board the KL Sentral and head over to the Malaysian capital! Whatever you’re looking for, this vibrant city has got it! Whether you’re looking for a quick trip to visit popular tourist spots or hidden gems in the city, you can check it out at our  Kuala Lumpur guide tab! ☺️

11. Singapore

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And we’re home! Welcome back, travellers, you made it! 21 days must be tiring, but with all the places you’ve been, the sceneries you’ve seen and the food you ate (and those heavy shopping bags, we see you), it’s definitely a trip of a lifetime! If this is your first time in Singapore, welcome! We’ve got lots to offer, from tourist attractions to some of our best local foods (we’re really proud of it!). Check it out at our Singapore guide tab! Hope you have fun! ? 

P.S. Did you know of the new luxury train that takes you directly from Singapore to Bangkok, and vice-versa? Your getaways could be super luxurious with the Eastern & Oriental Express!

Travelling through the whole 21-day route is practically impossible (we don’t have 21 days annual leave, guys), so you can always hop on in the middle! Sometimes in the midst of our need to catch everything we can when we’re in a new country, we forget to rewind, enjoy, and be blessed that we get to travel and experience new things! Going on a train ride definitely helps you do that! Perhaps for a change, hop on a train and turn up your travelling experience!