Ffestiniog Travel: Go east for an Asian Rail Adventure

INTEREST in rail tours to far-flung places continues to be popular as train travel offers the means to see as much of a country as possible in the timeframe of a holiday. 

Specialist rail tour operator Ffestiniog Travel is capitalising on this trend by going east and combining exotic destinations, interesting cultures and sightseeing with unforgettable rail journeys. 

Celebrity TV travel programmes continue to boost interest in touring these countries.  Prunella Scales and husband Timothy West’s Great Canal Journeys series on Channel 4 ventured into Vietnam and Cambodia, and Sir Trevor McDonald joined a long line of well-known personalities to travel through India by train in his recent Indian Train Adventure series on ITV .

Ffestiniog Travel has created four interesting long-haul escorted rail holidays departing in the next six months that visit the Indian Sub-Continent, south-east Asia and the Far East. The company returns to India twice on two very different tours, revisits Vietnam and Cambodia in early 2020, and introduces a brand new tour that explores the relatively undiscovered treasures of Taiwan by train!

India’s Golden Triangle & Ranthambore – Departs 28 October 2019 – 19 Days from £4,795pp

India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ region has become a popular tourist destination – home to some of India’s most iconic landmarks.  Ffestiniog Travel’s tour offers trains, tigers and the Taj Mahal. It is a balanced mix of heritage, culture, wildlife and, of course, railways! Enjoy a private chartered journey and workshop tour on the Kalka Shimla Railway and spend two days exploring the amazing Kangra Valley Railway, a line that crosses a staggering 950 bridges and boasts breathtaking views over the Dhauladhar mountain range. 

In addition to quality railway journeys, visit the ‘must see’ highlights of India’s famous Golden Triangle with sightseeing excursions to the Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Golden Temple, and explore Jaipur’s tourist landmarks, including the Amber Fort, City Palace and Hawa Mahal. The final icing on the tour cake is a two-night stay at Ranthambore National Park to enjoy three safaris and a chance to see the park’s famous tigers, together with a wide variety of bird life and other animals, including crocodiles, panthers and leopards.

Taiwan Rail Adventure – Departs 14 February 2020 – 16 Days from £3,870pp

Taiwan has so much to offer the traveller, making the long flight well worthwhile.  It boasts breathtaking scenery, a fascinating history and exotic cultures. 

This escorted tour includes rail journeys along scenic coastlines, historical branch lines, private charters at former Sugar Mills and chartered steam on the famous Alishan Forest Railway.  As well as lots of rail content this tour itinerary also includes some extensive sightseeing tours around Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung City. 

Visit the famous Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, take a cruise on the scenic Sun Moon Lake, see the awe-inspiring Taroko Gorge, with its sheer cliffs of marble, and spend a night at Yilan Jiaoxi, one of the most renowned hot spring destinations in northern Taiwan.

The beautiful scenery on the island of Taiwan.

This tour will fulfil the expectations of rail enthusiasts too, with a visit to the Miaoli Railway Museum and Changhua Roundhouse, one of the world’s last remaining working roundhouses.  

There is lots of steam locomotives to see as well as journeys on private steam charters to enjoy.  There is also a Sunrise Train trip to Chushan, the highest railway station in Taiwan, at 8,041ft, to view the spectacular sunrise.

Indian Hill Railways – Departs 16 February 2020 – 20 Days from £5,390pp

This is one of Ffestiniog Travel’s most popular, annual tours. It rides the three exceptional railways that served the former British Hill Stations in India – the Kalka Shimla Railway, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Nilgiri Rack Railway. 

Expect engineering excellence, fierce gradients and stunning scenery on this rail holiday. 

Kalka Shimla Railway – not for the faint-hearted!

It gives rail enthusiasts the opportunity to travel by private carriage between Kalka and Shimla, by private steam charter between Shimla and Shoghi, two days of private steam charters on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), and to ride on the ‘Joy Train’ to Ghum. 

Kathleeghat Steam Train (c) Bob Cable

As well as visits to railway museums and workshops, there is a myriad of sightseeing opportunities to enjoy, including the Taj Mahal and Red Fort at Agra, the fascinating Attari-Wagah Frontier, the Golden Temple at Amritsar, New Delhi’s India Gate, and the cool Blue Mountains in the south, where you can see Doddabetta Peak, enjoy the Botanical Gardens and a tea garden. 

Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong Delta – Departs 29 February 2020 – 20 Days from £3,490pp

Ffestiniog Travel has combined the exotic destinations of Vietnam and Cambodia in a rail tour that includes visits to iconic cultural sites, ancient history and wonderful hospitality with some memorable rail journeys.  

Travel mainly by train through Vietnam on the Reunification Line, including a beautiful stretch of railway that winds through lush landscapes and emerges onto a dramatic coastline. The Vietnam section of the holiday includes guided tours of Hanoi, Dalat and Saigon, as well as overnighting on a junk boat, a cruise along the stunning Mekong Delta, and the famous Hoi An Lantern Festival. 

The Cambodian part of the holiday includes a journey by train to Sihanoukville and an unforgettable visit to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of ancient Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. This is a truly wonderful tour that takes in five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  

When travelling to any exotic location an escorted tour provides a level of planning and security that enables travellers to sit back and enjoy the ride without the worry and stress.  

You can see all these tours in full at: www.ffestiniogtravel.com where you can book online.

For more information or to discuss a rail holiday in more detail contact Ffestiniog Travel direct by calling 01766 512400 or email info@ffestiniogtravel.co.uk   

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