Hong Kong’s MTR network is one of the world’s busiest, and the city is filled with attractions, from the 787-metre-tall Peak Railway’s trains directly to the height of Victoria Peak to a hotel-lined neighbourhood in Hong Kong Island to the viewing platform on Ipoh Ring and Bang Saat railway station itself — part of a new development between the city and the neighboring island. The Peak Railway carries people on a three-hour journey from Tiong Bahru on the north coast to Wan Chai on the south coast. Restaurants and shops on the route keep passengers supplied. Accommodation options include Ayia Napa Hotel and Condado Tuscany Hotel, both five-star hotels, as well as midscale, budget and serviced apartments. The island of Wan Chai is a popular meeting place, and tourists can visit an interesting flea market and sample the food at Wat.
Where to go next: Booking information at the MTR website.
New Silk Road Temple of Heaven Museum
Huangshan, Xian, China
Popular attractions in China vary with each location, but a pilgrimage to the Temple of Heaven, situated on the ancient Chinese trading route, allows for some familiar fare. The rail journey from Pudong on the east coast to Huangshan takes three hours, and tourism guides suggest stopping off for a taste of the neighbouring province of Shaanxi, which is famous for its tea. Some close by attractions include the National Palace Museum, the UNESCO World Heritage site in Beijing. Pudong is also a short drive from Shanghai, and passengers have a choice of train or plane connections, while the West Plaza Hotel is nearby.
Where to go next: Booking information on the National Palace Museum’s website.
East of the Yangtze River
Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
The river that flows across southern China is practically a national treasure, particularly its banks, even if there aren’t any major attractions to tempt you right in to get too close to the water. Close to China’s economic capital of Nanjing are the celebrated Zhangjiakou river front views, set against the 7,500ft-high Qingming Gejing Peak. With a stop in Hangzhou, the downstream route takes passengers to the industrial city of Zibo before a final crossing at Langshan, a picturesque port town between Zhongshan and the Dalian Dragon Boat Club. There is no waiting required, so passengers can grab a coffee and a bite to eat on the way or alternatively head out on a riverside cruise.
Where to go next: The train return is on the rail pass, while the river cruise ticket can be bought in advance on the river front.
Tara Resort on Kyushu, Japan
Kyushu is a more relaxing option for exploring Japan than the country’s often bustling, bustling, hectic capital of Tokyo. There is plenty to keep visitors busy with a variety of hotel services available along the railway network in this Japanese island, including tours of the two biggest and smallest aretes in the country: Taipei and Nakazawa. But, for a more relaxed, social experience, travellers can find a culture of tourism, a place for easy transport to the islands along the sea and countryside tracks. Four riverside resorts, built around two aretes, are situated along the railways network and a variety of activities are available on and away from the shores of the water: swimming, rowing and canoeing along the Sion beach, and a visit to the underwater museum on the shore of the Great Lagoon.
Where to go next: The train to Kyushu airport is direct on the top of North Japan Railway’s Hakata station, taking three hours and 40 minutes, whereas the train journey to the less-populated island of Kushiro is a close distance of three hours from Hakata and also takes three hours and 40 minutes.
Mount Fuji, Japan
The world’s highest mountain is popular for adventure, but more than that it’s a barometer of how Japanese people regard themselves. Japan is full of UNESCO World Heritage sites, so it’s perhaps a small price to pay to have this renowned attraction visible out of the window of a train. Set in the Fuji-Skein Mountain range, climbers can take a scenic route through the crater of Kanesanake Mount or enjoy a mountaineering experience — be it an ascent of 454 steps over the Kankin point or a rise of 2,635ft. More practical pursuits include sightseeing, shopping and accommodation along the way. This station can be accessed by take-off on the Shink