A Backpacking Adventure Inspired by ‘The Ultimate Train Challenge’

I’ve been using Google Currents recently on my smartphone (can be found on the Play store here), in which I came across something that looked very interesting and something that I would love to engage in. I originally considered the challenge, but I am going to do the Great Indo-China loop. I will be also considering Japan and Malaysia while I’m in that area of the world! More about this further down.

The Ultimate Train Challenge, was inspired by Michael Hodson, who wondered what the longest train journey would be. Travellers begin their journey in Lisbon either solo or in a group. Their travels will take them across 15,000 miles of train track and the destination is Saigon, Vietnam. To partake in the challenge, travellers must travel in the month of May only, and be on a train at least once every day. The idea is to make a continuous train journey. The route can be reversed, for those who live on the other side of the world to make things easier.


After serious thought about this I was very close to participating, bearing in mind that there would be plenty of time to stop in various countries to do a bit of sightseeing. To successfully complete this, one would obviously require a visa for those countries that you pass through. Passing through Russia seemed to be easier, staying in one country rather than skipping through many. The only thing was obtaining a Russian visa, which apparently could take up to 4 weeks to process and may require multiple attempts.

If I was to participate, I would have flown to Lisbon, and made my way to Moscow with the help of an InterRail Global Pass (link here). From there I would take the Trans-Manchurian express which would take me from Moscow to Beijing, this journey takes 6 days to travel across Russia, wow! Then from Beijing to Vietnam, the finish line! From there I would probably flown home. At the moment I don’t have enough funding for this epic journey across the globe.

As mentioned earlier, I will be doing the Great Indo China loop. The countries that it consists of is Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Luckily I have a friend in Thailand, and a friend in Vietnam, who is travelling Cambodia and Laos with me. At the end of my travels, I am strongly considering going to Japan, but it would mean that I need to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to get a cheap return flight there. A friend of mine will be in Japan, all the more to go, plus I get to visit Kuala Lumpur, great! 😀


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