Just Like The Darjeeling Limited

I’m starting to gear up for my big trip in a tell-the-boss-I’m-leaving, get-all-the-shots kind of way. I’m so excited, you guys! I can’t wait for that moment when the plane comes in over Mumbai and I realize that this? It’s 100% for real.I’ll be spending a week in Mumbai before I head down to Bangalore for a month of volunteering at a special-needs school. I’ll be riding the train for 24 hours to get from Mumbai to Bangalore. To prepare for said journey, I’ve been watching a lot of Darjeeling Limited clips. It’s going to be just like this, right? Riiiiggght?


I love traveling on trains – buying food from the little carts, watching the hills roll by, seeing how to the neighborhoods change as you get further and further out of the city. Most of the trains I’ve boarded have been of the less than glamorous variety (A friend and I once spent the night sleeping in non-reclining seats between Hanoi and Sapa, Vietnam being hassled and photographed by a bunch of drunk dudes) so I’m quite excited about the possibilities of traveling in style through India.

Really, I would probably enjoy myself more in the I-brought-my-chicken-with-me section of the train. I feel like my Chaco flip flops would be a bit out of place here!Do you love traveling by train? Have you ever taken a long trip my rail? (Blogger is acting up today and a lot of comments aren’t publishing! So if you don’t see your comment, it’s just a glitch in the system, not a commentary on how I feel about you and your train experiences)

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  1. Jessika

    From Sweden to Austria.
    North of Japan to the south (Shimonoseki). It would have been cheaper to fly but it was nice seeing everything from start to finish. Japan has a wonderful train service.

  2. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini

    I have been all over India by train. It was not that glamourous I have to say, but it was awesome!

  3. The Glamourous Grad Student

    It wasn't long, but the best train ride I ever had was through/over the Swiss Alps. I was seeing actual glaciers out the window!!

  4. everythingisjustwonderful

    I absolutely love traveling by train! That was one of my favorite things about Europe. Our longest train ride was from Paris to Milan, although Milan to Venice felt as though it was that long! We mostly rode in the economy sections of the trains where people were young or very old or fellow travelers and there was always a good conversation to be found! We rode in first class just once and hated it. Everyone was very serious and quiet–most took out their laptops and started typing away rather than talking to the person next to them. We did manage to find a very sweet girl from Rome to talk to, though. I would rather travel economy any day. (Even if the cars are a little stinkier! 🙂


  5. Chika

    Sarah, I lived in India till I was 16 and have gone back every couple of years to shop, eat, and see family (not necessarily in that order of course). Most trains are not as glamourous, as you already know. But, I have traveled in 2nd class AC sleeper several times( most recent was July '09 from New Delhi to Ahmedabad, Gujarat). I LOVED it. My sister and I got to bond with other travelers who shared their stories and food. They fed us non stop (soup and appetizer, dinner, ice cream, coffee/tea "in bed" with biscuits, and then a heavy breakfast. Between all the eating, talking, I dont even know where the time went by. I feel like anything below 2nd class A/C is a little less enjoyable.

    You will have a great time. Feel free to email me if you need more information about anything relating to your travel plans to India (I have also been to Nepal).

  6. Ayesha

    I've traveled by train both in the USA & other countries. I do like it, there is something more fun about it than flying in a way! Be careful if you're taking an overnight train, especially in a cheaper car– my sister woke up to a creep trying to touch her once while traveling in India.

  7. melissa-leigh

    Woah, those pictures are beautiful! And of course it will be EXACTLY like the darjeeling limited, complete with hot train bathroom sex (yow!)

  8. melissa-leigh

    haha jk, fyi 😉 but I'm sure it will be fun 🙂

  9. Sarah

    I want to ride that train…

  10. Chika

    Darjeeling LTD was a fun movie. I wish those trains were fo'real! Are you going to Darjeeling by the way while in India. It's a beautiful place worth visiting.

    I lived and grew up in India till I was 16. My family mostly traveled in trains because it was easy to do with a bevy of kids/family. My most recent trip on the train was last July when I visited Gujarat from New Delhi. It was an overnight 2nd class AC sleeper. My sister and I had a great time. The passengers were great company. we felt safe and so did our luggage. The ticket included lots of great food (soup, appetizer, huge hot dinner, ice cream, tea/coffee in bed with biscuit the next morning, followed with a huge hot breakfast). Anything below a 2nd class AC might be a little less relaxing and more crowded.

    I moved to the US in 1997, but I'm lucky enough to find the time and money to visit family and friends ever couple of years. If you need any help or have any questions about your trip, feel free to email me. I am really excited for you. It will be a very memorable and humbling experience.

    (sorry if this comment is a repeat. Looks like the last one didnt post).

  11. ewalker9

    This is perhaps the coolest idea ever! I've always wanted to take a long train trip!

  12. Madeleine

    Overnight, Moscow to St Petersburg. Four of us in a tiny cabin, crazy Russian music piped in through the walls. Probably the best trip I've ever taken (the whole thing, not just the train bit).

  13. Komal

    Although I was born and rasied in NY, I still have a lot of family in India. I go back every few years, mostly to the North (Punjab, Delhi) where my family is but my last trip in Novemmber, I spent a few days with a cousin in Bangalore. She is moving soon but she has made some great friends there. Let me know if you need some contacts, I'm sure she would be glad to help!

  14. Kat @ Fierce Frostings

    I'm so envious of you! I'd love to travel around India, but I am hoping to go travelling around Europe by train at the beginning of next year!

  15. Sri

    You'd have a train like in these pictures if you traveled on the 'Palace on Wheels' or ' Deccan Queen' service. Regular trains in India aren't quite this posh. But Rajdhani trains (air-conditioned ones that connect different cities to Delhi) and Shatabdi trains (again AC trains that are fast and connect different cities) include food in the fare and are great fun! I'm a lover of train travel in India! 'Station food', sold by yelling vendors, as soon as the train stops at a station is also yummy, though it might not be very gentle on the tummy

  16. Kim

    Great film!
    I once travelled across from Chicago-Seattle on the train, *that* was a long trip! a 2-nighter I think? we just slept in the seats, too.

  17. Bridey

    I love train travel! My favourite was 10 days through central & eastern Europe, and I was also pleasantly surprised by the condition of an overnight train in Thailand.

    Since coming back to NZ I've been meaning to do the trans-alpine, I really should get on to booking it soon!

  18. GB

    I may be parroting what others have said before me, but please don't try to travel below 2nd class. If possible take the shatabdis or else fly! Really! Flights are much cheaper than in the U.S., you get royal treatment and they serve fabulous food….And remember to take your own water with you wherever you go!

    I've lived all over India and travelled mostly by train- it certainly is the best experience ever. If you see chai in little earthenware pots (kullads) be sure to try it- they have a flavor you won't find anywhere else in the world!! Please feel free to contact me in case you need any assistance….

    Best of luck Sarah, keep posting on your adventures!!

  19. Mary

    I took the train from Michigan to Washington when I moved here to Seattle last month, and it was one of the singular most amazing experiences of my life to date. Yes, I have been a dozen countries in Europe, cruised the Mediterranean, and explored all sorts of wonderful far-off places….but honestly, the 54-hour train ride across our own amazing country was truly, truly magical. I think everyone should take a cross-country train trip at least once in their life to really appreciate how different the geography and people and places are right here within our own borders.

    NOT TO MENTION how fun it is to meet people from all over, find out their stories, share a meal with them, play cards with them, watch the mountains appear and dissappear with them! You can't get that on a plane.

    Magical. That's what trains are.

  20. renee

    calgary to vancouver…a week spent traveling solo through the canadian rockies by train. sounds blissful, no?

    broke my ankle at the top of a mountain on day 2. 🙁

    here's the bit that restores my faith in humanity: everyone in our car took care of me – being slightly gimpy started some great conversations!

    trains are a slick way to travel with or without an injury…you get to see the beauty of the journey and traveling feels leisurely (avoiding the airport hustle and bustle). enjoy!

  21. Holly

    i've never been on a long rail trip, but i'll never forget the german rail system! i almost fainted when i saw the compartments. harry potter childhood and all that.

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