I love taking the train! It's so much more fun and relaxing than flying. I haven't done it as much as I'd like to. Not all train journeys are equal though - here's the ones I've taken ranked by duration then given a rating out of 5. (↔️ = round trip)
  1. Ulaan Baatar ➡️ Beijing - 31 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The most comfortable train I've taken. Large bunks that were fully flat, plenty of seating in the hallway when you wanted to sit and watch the desert roll by, painless border crossing. Also we were exhausted and slept a lot on this journey. Cute baby below me who stabbed me with a fork (but like in a cute way), friendly people, good food in the dining car. Just the best. Also by far the longest. Thankfully we got to get out for a bit somewhere in the Gobi desert.
  2. Sofia ➡️ Bucharest - 17.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️. Overnight train but barely slept. The car was way too hot and because I was on the bottom, which was a seat during the day, it slanted which made it impossible for me to get comfortable. We couldn't open the window but kept trying to crack open the door because the hall had open windows but it wouldn't stay open.
  3. Shenzhen ➡️ Guilin - 15 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Middle bunks on Chinese trains have the worst amount of headroom. I watched Back to the Future while scrunched up in some terrible position. Friendly other passengers, no trouble sleeping - but not much of anywhere to sit that wasn't our bunks. (Jeff originally had a top bunk as pictured, but someone offered to switch).
  4. Richmond ↔️ Orlando - 15 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I was 7. On the way down we had seats and I remember having a horse sticker book. On the way back we had a room with beds and I shared with my brother. I remember the room had its own bathroom which was tiny - but I had no idea how luxurious that was!
  5. Guilin ➡️ Hanoi - 14 hours
    ⭐️⭐️. Two trains with a stop in Nanning. The Guilin-Nanning leg was unremarkable with decent food. The Nanning-Hanoi leg, we ended up with a private room which was nice and comfy but the border crossing was right in the middle of the night and you had to get off the train, and then it arrived in Hanoi at an ungodly hour at a station nowhere near downtown with no ATMs. Also I got food poisoning right after. My top culprit is some fried rice I had at the Nanning train station.
  6. Shanghai ➡️ Shenzhen - 12 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Perfectly comfortable, I had a bottom bunk. Great except that people will sit on your bunk sometimes during the day.
  7. Bangkok ➡️ Surat Thani - 12 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Train was late and smelly. Dining car was fine.
  8. Chiang Mai ➡️ Bangkok - 11 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. This one was the party train. With a dance party in the dining car. The way the seats converted into beds didn't make for the most comfortable attempted sleep. Also one of the shakiest trains so I worried about falling out of bed.
  9. Sighișoara ➡️ Budapest - 11 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. We only had seats 😱 for overnight but the train wasn't full so we ended up taking two seats each.
  10. Vienna ➡️ Venice - 11 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Very comfortable. Shared a compartment with an 80 year old woman who had recently hiked to Everest base camp. What a lady! Her daughter was cool too.
  11. Istanbul ➡️ Sofia - 10 hours
    ⭐️. I mean the train was fairly comfortable and we had great folks in our compartment. But the whole experience was nightmarish. There was construction on the line so you had to take a bus from in Istanbul to the suburban station. It was incredibly crowded. I got groped. I started having a panic attack. Traffic was at a standstill. People at later stops couldn't get on and started beating on and shaking the bus.
  12. Continued....
    When we got to the station finally it was creepy and nearly deserted and we thought we might get murdered. Then the border crossing was terrible. They hand searched through all our luggage and pretty much reduced this Korean guy in our car to tears. Then the train was quite late and my phone wouldn't work to contact the lady who was picking us up at the station. But at least she was still there when we got there.
  13. Naples ↔️ Genoa - 8 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Not so comfortable but overall fine. (Pictured is a Genoa station).
  14. Bangkok ↔️ Aranyaprathet - 6 hours
    ⭐️⭐️. Definitely the cheapest out of all of these. Third class is your only option. We were thankfully able to get seats both ways. It's dusty and uncomfortable. But people do get on and sell food. (Pictured: anonymous Thai train tracks).
  15. Beijing ➡️ Shanghai - 4 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. The bullet train, ooh la la! Height of luxury, basically. Short and comfortable and they had a display with the current speed which was fun. (I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the train. This is tracks north of Beijing on our trip from Mongolia)
  16. Bucharest ➡️ Brașov - 2.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Fully unmemorable, so fine, I'm sure.
  17. Rome ➡️ Naples - 2.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️. Train itself was fine. Getting there was a trial. Metro workers were on strike and getting a taxi was nearly impossible so we ended up walking to the station. We had to hurry and I bashed my knee on a road divider. Limped into the station with one minute to spare but luckily the train was slightly late.
  18. Budapest ➡️ Vienna - 2.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Fine! Pictured is a view from the train.
  19. Venice ➡️ Florence - 2 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Good.
  20. Venice ↔️ Padua - 1.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Italian trains are generally good. The sunset at Padua station was dramatic.
  21. Florence ➡️ Rome - 1.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. 👍🏼
  22. Beijing ↔️ Badaling (Great Wall) - 1.5 hours
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Decent train. Kinda crowded.
  23. Vienna ↔️ Bratislava - 1 hour
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. So quick to get to a whole new country!
  24. Genoa ↔️ Cinque Terre 1 hour
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️. Totally fine.
  25. Naples ↔️ Pompeii 30 minutes