Traveling The Trans-Siberian Railway: Lifelong Impressions
The legendary Trans-Siberian railway tour is one of the greatest travel adventures of our age. This once-in-a-lifetime tour offers an opportunity to experience vast territories of Russia in the safest, most comfortable, and fascinating way.
The tour runs on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is the longest railway line in the world. It spans 9,289 kilometers and connects Moscow to the Far East, reaching as far as Vladivostok. The Trans-Siberian tour takes you through five time zones and presents Russia’s past and present in its numerous colors.
One of the main attractions of your Trans-Siberian railway vacation is the Russian landscape – the vast panoramas of ever-changing landscapes and a sense of vastness. The Trans-Siberian train tour is one of the great adventures left in travel not fully discovered, and we are sure that the best Trans-Siberian railway tours will definitely give you lifelong impressions.
When To Go And How To Plan A Route
You can plan your trip for any time of year as the Trans-Siberian Railway operates all year round. It is true that the summer months from May to September have the best weather and the longest daylight hours for sightseeing and is the most popular time. However, in winter, it’s easier to get tickets, the trains are warmly heated, and the Siberian landscape is so beautiful in the snow.
Planning Your Route
The Trans-Siberian Railway can take you not only to Vladivostok. The Railway links Europe with China, Japan, Korea, even Vietnam, and South East Asia.
Vladivostok is an exciting place for a day or two, and you can catch a ferry to Japan or Korea to extend your journey. The Trans-Mongolian route is also fascinating, with fantastic views of the Gobi desert and a chance to make a stop in Mongolia on the way.
From East To West Or From West To East?
You can travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway either eastbound or westbound. It’s up to you. However, eastbound tends to be more popular with westerners.
Open tickets when you can hop on and off are not available traveling on the Trans-Siberian train. It is an all-reserved long-distance Railway where everyone gets a printed ticket with a specific date, train number, car & berth number. If you want to explore the locations along the way you can easily arrange stopovers using a separate ticket for each train.
The most popular stopovers are Irkutsk in Siberia for Lake Baikal and Ulan Bator in Mongolia, for a trip into the Gobi desert. If you have more time, Ekaterinberg and Ulan Ude are also worth a stop.
If you have an exact itinerary and limited time and want to be sure of confirmed reservations, you should pre-book your tickets in advance or a whole train tour through a travel agency. However, if you want to stay free and flexible, it is possible to buy your tickets at stations as you go along.
If you choose a journey from Moscow to Vladivostok taking six days and you are traveling in the 2nd class compartment, it would cost you about €450-€500. If you decide to make stopovers, you could take a train from Moscow to Novosibirsk for €150 in the 2nd class, then on to Irkutsk or Ulan for €90, and then on to Beijing for €350-€400. To make that journey cheaper, you can also take 3rd class Russian trains up to the Russian border.
How To Choose A Place. Should You Travel 1st Or 2nd Class?
On the Russian trains, there usually are 3 train categories or classes: Spalny vagon , which is 2-berth compartments, often described as 1st class ; kupé: 4-berth compartments, usually described as 2nd class; and platskartny which is open-plan dormitory car, sometimes described as 3rd class.
1st class gives you much more privacy, with 2 people instead of 4 in the same size compartment, but it is much more expensive. The choice is yours.
You will need a Russian visa for this journey. Always check the latest visa information, as visa rules change from time to time.
Visas are now issued 6 months before your intended date of entry to Russia. You can’t apply earlier. However, do not leave this matter for the last minute. Allow at least a month for visa processing, but if you have less time than this, a travel agency will help you get a visa much quicker.
What To Pack For The Trans-Siberian Railway
It is important to get most of your items into one bag. The maximum size of your bag should be 90x60x40 cm. Anything bigger than this will not fit into railway station luggage lockers and under the berth in your compartment. If you are traveling on a private train tour, this rule does not apply to you.
All the main Trans-Siberian trains have a restaurant car, a Russian one when in Russia, a Mongolian one in Mongolia, and a Chinese one in China. Few people go to Russia for the cuisine, but contrary to what you might have heard, Russian restaurant car food is quite edible and not expensive.
Traveling is all about comfort and practicality, and you should follow this rule. The trains are kept quite warm year-round, so dess light, you will need a jumper you can throw on at night time, though. Bring clothes you can sleep in, stretch in and laze around in.
If you decide to set out on this epic journey on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok you will cover one-third of the world. The ride will take you through the Mongolian steppe to Lake Baikal, to the snow-capped Ural Mountains. You will trace the history of the Russian tsars, and Mongols, admire remote cultures, and the unique Siberia’s architecture as well as Moscow’s onion domes in the comfort of a train. There has never been a better way to experience the vast and stunning Russia.