Whenever I board a train destined for some exotic location, be it the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow or the MTR to Choi Hung, the same thing happens. Within seconds of departing my eye lids become unbearably heavy and my head is replaced by that of a nodding dog. Usually, while still within spitting distance of the platform, I am snoring like a freshly tranquilised gazelle. I'm the same on boats and buses. It's a handy skill to have when I need to catch up on a few lost zees. It's not so wonderful when the journey from A to B is meant to be a memorable part of the experience, though. Fortunately for him, English author and travel show host Simon Reeve (above) doesn't suffer my first-world problem.

Having presented travelogues from parts of the planet most embassies would advise against visiting, Reeve is now exploring three of the world's mightiest waterways, experiencing the cultures and religions that have evolved alongside the Sacred Rivers (BBC Knowledge, Friday, 9pm)

With India's Ganges and China's Yangtze to follow, this week Reeve journeys along the world's longest river, the Nile. We begin in the central highlands of Ethiopia, at the source of the river - a trickle of water that Muslim and Christian pilgrims believe once flowed into the Garden of Eden, and has healing powers.

As with all his documentaries, Reeve avoids the tourist traps that have been well explored by the Palins and Lonely Planeteers of this world, and delves a little deeper, to try to understand the pressing issues of the region and its people. By visiting the sites where Ethiopia and Sudan are harnessing the river for their needs, Reeve attempts to establish who the Nile belongs to and which country has the rights to its water, without ever becoming judgmental or losing his cheerful smile.

Reeve offers far more as a storyteller than your average celebrity wanderer, so, even if travel shows aren't your thing, take heed from the many crocs that call the Nile home and just go with the flow.

It may not be the sexiest of holiday destinations but I've always had a strong urge to visit Taiwan (well, maybe not that strong, or I would have gone by now). Once thought of as a giant industrial wasteland, Taiwan's rugged wilderness of mountain peaks, forest reserves and national parks now offers some of the best adventure-sport opportunities in Asia. Unfortunately, this outdoor paradise doesn't feature in Smart Taiwan: Serve You Right (tonight at 9pm on the Discovery Channel), which focuses on how technology has transformed the nation.

Showcased are four businesses that have blazed innovative trails - in finance, health care, information technology and public transport - by pinpointing consumer demands through apps, big data and bioscience to offer speedier, more personalised services. These companies have helped create a more efficient and forward thinking city.

If you think all of that sounds a bit dull, I will not argue otherwise. I've sat through half a season of American Idol and struggled to read the first few chapters of Das Kapital - hell, I've even endured a school nativity play performed by friends' young offspring - but nothing had prepared me for this level of boredom. Maybe I was just in the wrong frame of mind, or possibly it's because I have no passion for systemising information, but a precious hour of my life has been lost forever.

Here's something that might get your heart pounding, though: presenter Zay Harding is taking us for a ride on Bolivia's "death train". Thankfully for our intrepid explorer, who co-presents the show along with the affable Ian Wright, this ancient passenger train that rumbles across the South American country, from Santa Cruz to the Brazilian frontier, no longer holds the safety record that once earned it its racy, rock 'n' roll nickname.

Tough Trains (TVB Pearl, Friday, 8pm) is a new travel series (yep, another one) that promises to take us on some of "the most epic and hard-core rail journeys on the planet". From the sweltering, jam-packed railway carriages of India to the Siberian ice trains of the frozen Arctic wastelands, our hosts battle Mother Nature and interminable delays, and bribe their way out of hairy situations, as they ride some of the world's most remote and exciting railway networks.

Harding is such an inspiring travel companion that he's almost convinced me to embark on my own bold choo choo adventure. My only fear is that I'd wake up as we rolled into the final station having missed the whole wonderful experience.