Are Luxury Trains the best way to travel and see India for you? Recently, I had the opportunity to be aboard one of the five luxury trains in India.
You heard it correctly, India does not have one but five luxury trains. Some of them have even won awards for the World’s top luxury trains and are considered to be some of Asia’s most luxurious form of transportation.
Here are 15 things to know and consider before booking your very own luxury train journey.
There are five different trains to choose from and each train has a different route, or even several routes to choose from, though some depend on the season/time of year.
Make sure to pick the train which best fits the things that you would like to see/do in India. In my case, I traveled aboard The Deccan Odyssey Luxury Train around the states of Maharashtra and Goa. My train had a more off-the-beaten-path route which I totally loved!
List of luxury trains in India
- The Deccan Odyssey (Mine!)
- Maharajas’ Express
- The Golden Chariot
- Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
- Palace on Wheels
Trains are luxurious but do not think in terms of North America/European luxury.
While the trains are 5 stars, this is in terms of India’s standards. Maharajas initially boarded these trains and eventually they became trains for regular passengers.
The décor has a different feeling from what is considered modern for many of us, but they are lovely, cozy and they all offer fantastic amenities, great service and more.
You will have a personal butler.
All Cabins/cars have a butler or, as I prefer to call them, a personal assistant to help you for the entire journey.
You will have a special mobile phone in your room. This phone lets you call your assistant to come to your rescue immediately. Do not get yourself in too much trouble, but nice to know it’s there just in case.
It will remind you of a cruise, because you just need to check in and everything else will be taken care of for you. You will get on/off of the train only for the day. You won’t need to pack/unpack, check-in/out every day, since the train will be your home for the weeklong journey.
And, no worries, you will have plenty of closet space to hang your clothes and the luggage can be easily stored under your bed.
If you are fitness freak or a beauty addict, do not worry, there is not only a gym aboard, but also a spa and even a beauty parlor for your needs.
Note: This is based on my own personal experience aboard The Deccan Odyssey, so you should confirm the amenities once you select your train.
There is a bar and dining rooms too.
You can just enjoy a cocktail by the bar while watching the sunset or the beautiful landscape passing in front of your eyes, or you can simply pick your favorite car for eating your meal.
There’s enough space for you to sit wherever you feel most comfortable. NOTE: All meals include soft drinks. Keep in mind that alcohol is not included in the pricing.
Attention Foodies: There are Indian and western meal options to choose from every day. I personally love to embrace the culture, so I tried to stick mostly with the Indian food options.
There are vegan, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. You can explain to the train crew if you have any special, dietary restrictions or allergies and they will customize the dishes to your needs. Also, make sure to specify if you prefer mild, medium or super spicy meals.
The desserts are to die for! You will totally be satisfied with all of the selections. They offer amazing Indian and International desserts. You can always order ice cream, a fruit bowl or just simply a natural smoothie/juice. But spoil yourself! And if you feel guilty, as I mentioned above, there is a gym!
Not every meal will be on board. So many days you will have lunches at Palaces, Hotels and beautiful places while enjoying special performances and other surprises.
Each train stop has a performance from that area or city waiting to welcome you as the train arrives. You can expect colorful outfits, energetic dancers, wonderful instruments, and flower garlands/traditional accessories to wear around your neck and more. It really is a delight to start your journey every day like this.
After each performance at the train stop, you will board an air-conditioned bus/van. This bus/van will take you comfortably to the places that you will visit each day. They have water and even snacks for you. And each time you reboard the bus, they give you hand sanitizer (which is much appreciated).
They will take care of any bathroom needs before seeing sites, especially if the drive was a long one from the train. All is arranged for you, so there are planned rest stops or you can always ask. Stops included places like hotels, and we were always treated as VIP by the train staff.
You mostly explore the cities during the day. Some days are shorter than others. These trains usually cater to people who like to explore the city during the day and then have time to return to the train to relax, freshen up, nap, read, drink or just chat with others. There are many short days and the journey usually starts early in the morning, right after breakfast. You do get to see some of the highlights but this type of trip is just meant to give you a taste of the cities visited. There are some of them that you’ll want to definitely return to (like I do), to explore them more thoroughly.
To read another 15 things about travelling on a luxury train visit Dreams in Heels here