If taking the Maharaja Express Train across India isn’t on your bucket list, it should be! The Maharaja Express Train is a once in a lifetime luxury train journey through India. It has been voted “The Worlds Leading Luxury Train” time and again and it isn’t hard to see why! Seeing India by train is an unforgettable experience where you will go to sleep in one city or state and wake up in a completely different place.
Unlike our experience taking the train across Canada, luxury trains in India such as the Maharaja Express Train are more like a cruise on wheels. The Maharaja Express is a wonderful way to slow travel through India while enjoying the people, cities, culture, and landscapes as they fly by your window. We have put together some things you should know about the Maharaja Express and luxury trains in India so you are fully prepared for the memorable experience that lies ahead.
15 Things To Know Before Taking The Maharaja Express Train
#1. The Maharajas’ Express is the ultimate luxury travel experience
If you are on the hunt for the ultimate luxury travel experience, you have come to the right place! The creators of the Maharaja Express Train have spared absolutely no expenses on creating this once in a lifetime journey for passengers. While there are multiple luxury trains in India, the Maharaja Express offers the most luxury and is the newest train of all. The Maharaja Express has been around for 7 years at the time of this publication and has won many “best in travel” awards for being one of the best luxury travel experiences in the world and the best luxury train in India. Whether you are looking for a honeymoon vacation like no other, a memorable family trip, time to rekindle with your spouse, or the solo trip of a lifetime, the Maharaja Express Train offers a luxury experience that will blow your mind.
#2. You Will Have Your Own Private Butler To Attend To Your Every Need Onboard The Maharaja Express Train
Have you ever wanted to be treated like a true king or queen, or in this case, a true Maharaja? When riding on the Maharajas’ Express train, you will have access to your very own private butler. Unlike a cruise ship where room service stewards service many cabins all the time, your private butler will only serve your car which will consist of your cabin and two others. Your private butler onboard the Maharajas’ Express Train sleeps at the end of the hall and is a quick phone call away. Our butler was named Raju and he truly was one of the best and most memorable parts of the experience.
Your Maharaja Express private butler will attend to your every need. He will provide a personalized wake-up call, will bring you tea and coffee or breakfast in bed, will help explain what is going on during the day, and will be there whenever you need to call for whatever reason. Your Maharaja Express butler will also personally escort you and help carry your belongings each day when it is time to deboard or return to the train. The train is really long so that means he will walk with you for 4-6 train car lengths until he escorts you to the place you need to deboard. By the end of the Maharaja Express itinerary, you and your butler will certainly have bonded making this one of the best and most memorable parts of this luxury train trip in India.
#3. The Maharajas’ Express Has A Doctor On Board Who Even Does Most Excursions With Passengers
When boarding the Maharaja Express Train we were told that there was a doctor on the train but we had no clue how active and available he would really be. The Maharaja Express doctor was on call 24/7 and was seen at many excursions or dinners that were eaten off of the train! This means that if something happened at any time during your time on or off the train, the doctor would be at your side immediately. Some other passengers sadly got sick while traveling on the Maharaja Express route and spoke highly of how helpful the doctor was. He provided injections, medication, and general health assistance depending on how sick you are and what your needs are.
We had no idea that luxury trains in India offered an onboard doctor that actually traveled off the train with the passengers as well. We love that this was included in the Maharaja Express price and that passengers did not have to pay extra to see the doctor. This was a bit of the luxury experience that you may not consider when booking your trip but that will be invaluable if necessary when on the train.
#4. You Can Choose The Maharaja Express Price That Best Fits Your Budget
Make no mistake, the Maharajas’ Express Train is an ultimate luxury travel experience and comes with a price tag to prove it. That being said, you can choose the Maharaja Express fare that best fits what you are looking to spend. If you want to go all out on a once-in-a-lifetime luxury train trip, then go for the 8-day Maharaja Express itinerary. If you are looking to experience luxury trains in India but can’t drop as much money, you can choose a 3 or 4-day itinerary. This allows you to pick the Maharaja Express fare that you are able to spend.
If the Maharaja Express price is high for you but you want to experience ultimate Indian luxury, keep an eye out for discounts and book a shorter train journey. If you are a consistent luxury traveler, the longer itineraries will give you more time to experience the Maharaja Express train and all of what India has to offer. Do your research on finding the Maharaja Express price that works for you!
#5. There Are Four Cabin Classes To Choose From On The Maharaja Express Train
Let us preface this by saying that for a train, the Maharaja Express cabins are all quite spacious and offer tons of room so you really can’t go wrong and it depends on how much you want to spend. Even the smallest room has more space than we have had on other pricey train trips and the suites are the same size or bigger than ones we have had on luxury river cruises.
The cabin classes are the deluxe cabin, junior suite, suite, and presidential suite. We booked a junior suite and really loved how it came with a table and chairs and a little extra space at the foot of the bed to walk around and store luggage. The only difference between the junior suite and the deluxe cabin is the table and chairs and the extra space. If you don’t plan to be sitting in your room a lot, a deluxe cabin will do nicely. If you are like us and love spending time relaxing in your cabin, a junior suite is a good option.
While the junior suite consists of two rooms, the main room and the bathroom, the suite essentially consists of three rooms, a sitting room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. The bedroom and sitting room are partitioned by a latticed wood which makes for a little separation. The suite provides a ton of space! If you are planning to travel by luxury train in India, any of these options won’t disappoint. Finally, the presidential suite has multiple cabins and takes up an entire train car! If you book the presidential suite and are reading this blog, make sure to invite us to come along with you on your luxury train trip in India. The Maharaja Express price truly depends on how much or how little you are willing to spend!
#6. Luxury Trains In India Can Be Over 1Km Long So Factor In Time To Walk Between Train Cars
Bring your walking shoes because luxury trains in India such as the Maharaja Express are often longer than 1km. This sounds long, but you have no idea how truly massive the train length is until you see it in person! When walking through all of the train cars with cabins, you will be walking down a pretty narrow hallway. Be sure to walk with care if the train is moving and hold on to the walls if necessary. If you are walking to deboard the train for excursions, add in a good 7-10 minutes extra for the walk depending on where your cabin is in relation to the train car you must deboard from. Even if you walk relatively fast like us, walking half a kilometer takes time! The fact that this luxury train in India is so long is a testament to all of the amenities it has to offer passengers.
#7. There Are Two Dining Cars On The Maharajas’ Express With Lots Of Indian And Some Western Food Options
There is really no nice way to say this so we are just going to come out and say that we aren’t the biggest fans of Indian food. Victoria’s mom had Indian when she was pregnant with her and got very sick so maybe that has something to do with it. That being said, we were open to trying Indian food options while in India [obviously!] and the Maharaja Express Train allows for a “safe” food tasting environment.
The train has two dining cars that are beautifully designed but serve the same menu. No matter which you choose, you will be eating the same food and the only difference is the design of the train car. All of the food and drinks during your train trip will be included in your Maharaja Express fare so feel free to indulge.
The Maharajas’ Express offers a large and rotating Indian selection and a reasonable “western” food section. Each meal there will be one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian “western” entree and a whole host of Indian entree options. There will also be both Indian and non-Indian appetizers and soups as well as dessert.
If you truly don’t see anything on the menu that suits your fancy, you can make a [reasonable] request and the chef will try to accommodate. After all, you are on a luxury train and you will certainly be treated like royalty. On numerous occasions, passengers requested pasta dishes that were not on the menu and the kitchen delivered with speed.
If you are looking to taste Indian food for the first time, there are plenty of options on the Maharaja Express Train. You can order a dish or two and give it a try and if you love it you can order more and if you aren’t thrilled you can order another entree. We appreciated that there were some western options and some Indian options depending on our taste for that meal.
#8. There Are Many Different Maharaja Express Itineraries To Choose From Depending On Where You Want To Travel
The Maharaja Express Train doesn’t just travel on one itinerary! There are actually 7 itineraries of varying lengths that you can choose from! We chose “The Indian Panorama” which brought us to four Indian states in central and north India. We highly recommend this 8-day Maharaja Express itinerary as it brought you to all of the “must-see” sites such as the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, and Delhi while also taking you off the beaten path to places that are a little lesser-known! You can also choose to travel from Mumbai to New Delhi, around India’s south, or mainly focus on the Rajasthan state. You can also choose from shorter or longer Maharaja Express itineraries.
If you have already been to India, we recommend looking at one of the “southern sojourn” itineraries as these hit places that you are less likely to have seen. If this trip will be your first time to India, we suggest booking a Maharaja Express itinerary that goes to the “golden triangle” of Jaipur, Agra [Taj Mahal] and Delhi because these are stops that a first timer won’t want to miss! The Maharaja Express ticket price also differs depending on which itinerary you choose so be sure to shop around!
#9. There Are Fresh Flowers, A Welcome Ceremony, And Gifts At Every Train Stop
The Maharaja Express team really does a fantastic job of surrounding guests in an ultimate luxury travel experience from the moment they board the train to the moment they leave. This includes when you arrive at each and every train stop! When you arrive, each and every station will be decorated with thousands and thousands of fresh flowers. It blew our mind that this many fresh flower garlands and displays even exist and was so cool to see in person! You will also be gifted with little tokens of appreciation from fresh flower garlands to beautiful and colorful scarves! We won’t give away any more fun details so we won’t spoil your Maharaja Express Train trip!
#10. There Are A Range Of Fabulous Excursions And They Are All Included In Your Maharaja Express Ticket Price
Each day, there will be between 1-3 excursions you can take part in that are all included in your Maharaja Express ticket price. We recommend doing so unless you are sick or want to relax on the train. The train stations are a bit out of town so you won’t be able to easily walk into town unless you get a rickshaw or hire a taxi. From visiting the Taj Mahal to going on a tiger safari, there is something fun and memorable for everyone! Of course, as the Maharaja Express is a luxury experience, all of these experiences are done in the height of comfort. From the second you leave the train station, an air-conditioned tour bus whisks you away to that day’s location. You are provided with a headset and always given hand sanitizer when you board the bus.
Some of the tour days are very long and can be tiring to some guests. If you ever need to go back to the train, just alert one of the Maharaja Express staff and arrangments will be made. We visited the Karma Sutra Temples, went on a boat ride on the Ganges to see a holy ritual, saw a silk weaving center, climbed in an ancient fort, and ate dinner in a real palace! The Maharaja Express Train trip leaves nothing out and is truly memorable!
#11. There Are Two Bar Cars And You Can Order Any Drink You Want
When we say you can order any drink you want, we are being serious! Don’t see it on the menu? Kindly request it from your bartender and he will make it happen! Many places don’t make ‘blended” drinks like a Pina Colada but the Maharaja Express aims to please luxury travelers and takes requests for literally anything and everything you could possibly imagine! If you don’t drink, their mocktail menu is the most extensive that we have seen yet and the mocktails are unique and delicious! We tried ordered an iced coffee one day and our butler came back with an amazing blended creation more like a frappuccino! It was delicious and we were surprised that the staff could even create a blended coffee drink! Whatever your taste, the Maharaja Express bar staff will deliver!
#12. Sleeping On A Luxury Train In India Is Quite Relaxing And Soothing, But May Not Be For Everyone
We love sleeping on trains and sleeping on a luxury train in India is even better! That being said, the Maharaja Express Train staff told us that not everyone loves it the first night or two. Since there is a doctor on board, be sure to request some motion medication if this is usually a problem for you. The Maharaja Express staff also provide earplugs for you and blackout shades are on the window for your comfort. The motion isn’t like a boat or a car and is unique in a way that you may have never experienced before. Preparedness is key and if you aren’t prepared, the Maharaja Express Train staff have got your back!
#13. Most Of Your Time Actually Traveling On The Luxury Train In India Will Be Spent Moving At Night
We love spending time traveling by train or cruise and it is something we look forward to. In Canada, we spent multiple days on the train without stopping. The Maharaja Express Train spends a lot of time at individual stops so you can maximize your time seeing so many wonderful Indian sights. The time spent actually moving on the train will mostly be at night after you have spent a day exploring. This makes for a wonderful and restful night sleep. During our 8-day itinerary, we traveled during the late morning or afternoon around 2-3 times. If you are an early riser, you can also enjoy the passing countryside almost every day! We love watching the world go by when traveling by train and luxury trains in India know how to do it right!
#14. Not All Meals Will Be Eaten On The Maharaja Express But They May Be Eaten At A Fancy Hotel Or Palace
It is important to note that not every meal will be eaten on board the Maharaja Express Train. Depending on your itinerary, you may eat at a variety of hotels or even a palace! On our Indian Panorama itinerary, we ate some lunch and dinner meals out at fancy hotels and one was even in the courtyard of a working palace for a real-life Maharaja! We also had a memorable champagne brunch at a hotel on a hill overlooking the Taj Mahal! Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go back to the train just for meals so you are treated to a fancy dinner out at a hotel! Take note that the dinners may not be until late, such as 9 pm, so make sure you eat a heavy lunch if you see this on your itinerary!
#15. The Onboard Wifi Is Actually Surprisingly Okay, Comparatively Speaking
When we heard that the Maharajas’ Express had onboard wifi we were very skeptical. Every single cruise or train trip we have taken that boasts wifi has fallen very short. Even luxury cruises that promote wifi are slow and terrible. The wifi on the Maharaja Express Train was surprisingly decent. It will not be as fast as your wifi at home or as fast as wifi at a luxury hotel, but it is the best wifi we have experienced on a cruise or train journey and that is really saying something!
Each train car had its own wifi router but the password stays the same for all train cars. Once you login to a wifi account one time, you won’t have to log in again as you will automatically connect each time you go into that car. There will be separate wifi for your cabin car, the dining cars, the lounge cars etc. but the password will stay the same so you will be easily able to access wifi wherever you are. Be patient with the staff as you may be going through a remote part of India in the even the wifi isn’t working as well as it should.
Exploring India by luxury train is truly a once-in-a-lifetime journey that you will never forget. From the memorable destinations in India that you will see, people you will meet, and experiences you will have, incredible India will leave a lasting impact on you. What better way to see the sights and sounds of India than on the Maharajas’ Express Train?
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Please note: We were invited to India by the Incredible India Tourism Board and were guests onboard the Maharajas’ Express for the purpose of this review. Our views are our own and do not reflect those of Incredible India or the Maharaja Express. We were not paid to write this post.