TRANS SIBERIAN TRAIN TOUR: ESSENTIAL TIPS AND INFO
From endless Mongolian steppe to the snow peaks of Siberia the Trans-Siberian Railway offers fascinating landscapes and great cultural diversity. Prepare yourself for a journey of a lifetime and get incomparable experience as your travel across Asia and good half of Europe. We sleep, eat, read in the train, communicate with locals and take breaks in the most remarkable places en route.
The regular trains passing across the Trans-Siberian Railway are not luxury trains, and Russians (as well as Mongolians and Chinese) use them daily. Living conditions vary from country to country, do not expect all the trains to be equal. In general, we would say Mongolian trains are more basic than Chinese and in Russia trains vary greatly from one leg to another. We hope our tips will help you to prepare for your trip and get the best experience ever.
The bag should not be bulky and heavy, please try to limit the total weight and take only necessary stuff. You will get to walk through a large number of ladders at most of Russian train stations, and not all of them have elevators. Porters (can be hired at site, only cash payments) are not always present. So, consider the size and overall weight of you bags.
• Wet towel wipes and toilet paper (in the train it usually is, but, unfortunately, can end at any time)
• Tableware, cup (for coffee or tea)
• Food: fruit, yogurts, cookies, tea, coffee, etc. Though trains have dining cars, the choice might be very limited. Also, sometimes train goes thought Mongolia without a dining car and only get it connected at the border crossing.
• We rather recommend a separate handbag to tore food separately from the main luggage. Thus, after you’ve safely placed your bags in the cabin, you will not need to open frequently – chatting and eating are the top activities during the long train rides! Before boarding each train, we allow some time for necessary shopping.
• Cup for tea or coffee, fork/spoon/knife, salt/pepper
• Earplugs. Can be a useful device for a more comfortable sleep.
• The portable charger (in train cars, as a rule, there are not enough socket connections, yet there are too many travelers with plenty of devices)
• flashlight. The main lighting in the train turns on/off automatically, and there are small laps for each seat, however we recommend to have a flashlight as well.
• The book for reading, pack, board games, etc. Think of special Trans Siberian books, those will enrich you travelling experience
• Comfortable clothes, slaps for shower and slipper
• Comfortable pajama
• We have some walking tours scheduled so please pay special attention to the choice of comfortable footwear and clothes. Do not neglect headdresses and sun creams, and drink enough water in the summer.
3 classes of trains in Russia
1. The first class ("Sleeper" / "SV"). The best available class, a compartment for two people, two lower benches. Usually, the carriage has a shower and one meal is provided during the journey.
2. The second class ("Coupe") for 4 people, with two benches up and down. If you do not want to share your cabin with a strangers, you need to buy out the entire compartment. However we remind you that travelling Trans Siberian is a safe and secure, and interacting with the locals if most certainly one of the greatest features of this trip. Most of the stories we’ve heard about Trans Siberian tours, start with “once I met in a train…”
3. The third class ("Reserved seats"). Compartments here do not have doors, the entire carriage is an open-space. Very special experience, recommended for younger travelers and tourists on a budget.
Toilet rooms are located at both ends of each car. 1st class has shower, however the charge is extra and is paid to “provodnitza” – conductor - usually a female staff on board. Those we have seen “provodnik”, male staff as well. Provodnitza is a person in charge of everything but unfortunately almost none of them speak English.
Meals on board
The dining car (cash is widely accepted, credit cards are not always accepted) is located in the middle of the train. Besides, near conductors there is always a tub with hot boiled water safe to the use and free of charge, it is located next to conductor’s compartment.
Dining car is not available on Ulaanbaatar-Irkutsk leg.
You will also find a typical samovar with hot water in many cars. That is why it is useful to take with itself coffee, tea, soups and also an own cup. Hot water also is useful to preparation of instant noodles.
We recommend to purchase some food and snacks before boarding.
In each carriage, there are two conductors who are responsible for:
1. Verification of tickets when boarding. PLEASE NOTE that the passport you’re travelling with should the same which you provided to Discovery Russia and which was used to purchase your tickets. In case you have got a new passport since them, kindly contact us immediately as the train tickets must be changed (there is a small penalty for this, applied by the Russian railways). Otherwise, you will be denied boarding the train.
2. Distribution of bed linen and towels; at the end of trip bed linen needs to be handed over independently back to the conductor.
3. Sale of food and also tea and coffee
You do a hop on/hop off train tour which means you will be having overnight stops in the city hotels as well as night aboard the train.
Apart of this big stops, when we arrive with one train and depart with another, trains do many stops on the way. Some of them last for a few minutes only, and others for several hours. These stops are stated in the schedule in each car, however, it is only written in Russian as usual. During long stops it is possible to leave, breathe fresh air and to stretch legs, however you should not leave too far and it is necessary to watch that the train did not leave without you. If you leave the train, please take ticket and money and make sure you know when the trains is scheduled to depart.
At stops you will find a great number of sellers who offer fresh home made meals, fruits, books, toys, clothes, typical souvenirs, etc. at rather low prices. At big stations there are also booths.
It is strictly forbidden to smoke in the train or on platforms.
The mobile network and the Internet are not stably available during the train ride, however near the cities we as usually able to get connection.
There are two toilets in each carriage, with a sink, one – at the beginning of the car, and another – at the end. In the morning it can be pretty crowded. Toilets are usually closed 30 minutes prior to a stop. In some trains first and even second class carriages have a shower.
Please note that during border crossing toilets are closed for rather long time (up to 5 hours).
220- 230 W aboard. Sockets are usually located in a carriage’s corridor and in the toilets. There are leaning-back places in the corridor for your comfort.
For an hour before arrival on the station of destination the conductor will notify you. At this time you have to return bed linen and towels.
Group Tours notice
Please note, that we do expect every group tour member to respect the tour schedule and other fellow travelers. It is extremely desirable not to be late to the appointed place and time of a group meeting to avoid waste of time of your fellow travelers. Those who're late for the group transfers will unfortunately have to travel by the next available train/flight on their expenses to re-unite with the group.
Please make sure you have obtained appropriate travel insurance. If you require constant medical treatment, of assistance to board/disembark trains, please notify us in advance as it might require additional preparation for you and will affect the tour schedule should we not be informed properly.
As usual, there is no doctor travelling on board. In case of necessity, “Provodnitza” will contact the chief of the train, who’s able to arrange emergency car for the next stop. If your experience health problems during the trip, DR will help you to reach the nearest hospital, we can also arrange a translator (extra charge) for you.
Stay connected with Discovery Russia
Very IMPORTANT PRIOR TO the TRIP we kindly ask you to install WhatsApp application on your cell phone. It will be used to communicate faster to all group members. If you need help, please ask you tour director to assist. You will be able always to be in touch with the tour director (for group tours) and with your DR manager (for private journeys) who will help to resolve any arising issues.
Epic Trans-Siberian Railroad
Set out for a journey of a lifetime. Fully escorted small groups and custom private tours. Eastbound and Westbound, year round. Experience the world's longest train ride, start planning your Trans-Siberian railway holiday now. Safe, secure and reliable. Choose from over 40 set small group departures or take a private tour.
Trans-Siberian Express holiday package is an amazing way to see cities, people, villages, famous sightseeing spots & hidden gem. Arts and crafts of Nizhny Novgorod, military tours and Romanov's Dynasty history in Yekaterinburg, natural wonders of Perm, Krasnoyarsk and Lake Baikal, secrets of Mongolia and splendid Beijing. From Beijing to Moscow by train - what a great trip to partake! Choose from our fully escorted small group tours, or request a custom private tour. We guarantee free travel planner, best places to visit in Russia, hand-picked hotels, best value packages, great local guides. Group tours are 20 people maximum.
Trans Siberian Railway Holidays: How to Plan and Book
Start at Russia’s cultural capital, Saint Petersburg, where you will enjoy famous palaces, museums and some amazing architecture; enjoy the cosmopolitan vibe of Moscow; make a stopover at the border between Europe and Asia, the city of Yekaterinburg; take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Russia’s natural treasure, Baikal Lake; explore the real Russia on the way, and finish your journey in Vladivostok. It works the other way round too for travelers arriving by ferry or plane from Japan on their way from Sydney, Melbourne, New York or Toronto to Paris, London or Hong Kong. Trans-Mongolian Express route starts (or ends) in Beijing, China or in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and includes Mongolia exploration.
Trans Siberian Railway Cost
Choosing your perfect Trans-Siberian railroad package may seem tricky at first. Here is some useful information about the two main options we suggest. You may travel privately or choose one of our Russia escorted tour package and combine your Trans-Siberian experience with our best tours to Russia.
1) You may take one of special luxury cruising trains
, palaces on the wheels. Those have just a few scheduled big group departures per year. These are express sleeper trains that make only brief stops at the cities en-route, and you stay aboard all the nights. On these tourist trains, you travel with a group of 120-150 other international travelers, taking tours to Russian from USA, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore or UK. Prices start from 5150 EUR/6950 AUD/6000 USD for a 2-berth compartment. Many people think this is the only way to travel 1st class, however hop on/hop off trains also have first class.
2) There are daily Russian trains, when you travel from one station to another by changing trains at every leg of your journey. Here, you will have a choice between 1st class (2 berths) or 2nd class (4 berths) compartments. A solo traveler can buy out the entire compartment to travel privately. Please note WC and shower is shared, there are 2 WC and 2 showers in each carriage of the 1st class. There is no shower but only WC in the 2nd class. This is a real, authentic and historical way to travel the Trans-Siberian Express. It will make your holidays to Russia truly unique and unforgettable. Choosing this option, you have the flexibility and freedom to choose your dates of travel and enjoy your own, custom-made itinerary, focusing on your interests. You are also welcome to choose one of our ready-made Trans-Siberian train tours and join our small groups. We at Discovery Russia are always happy to provide recommendations to help you choose or design a brand new itinerary. English-speaking guides and tours are available at every location you will be visiting.
How much do our Trans-Siberian packages cost? Talk to Discovery Russia expert to find the trip-of-a-lifetime. Classic Trans-Siberian Express Vladivostok to Moscow (or reverse), or Trans-Mongolian route from Beijing to Moscow bypassing beautiful Mongolia and stunning Gobi desert. You may choose 3* or 5* hotels, first class compartment for two people, or take a hard sleeper; you may choose ten stops or no stops on the way; and you may travel for as long as your Russian visa is valid.
Contact your Discovery Russia Travel Expert now to find out about our sample itineraries and our upcoming group tours; or to tailor your Trans-Siberian railway trip. Your itinerary can include everything you really want to see, or you may travel without any specific plan in mind.
Creating your own Trans-Siberian/Trans-Mongolian journey, we blend cities, villages, Russia adventure tours and cultural sightseeing with our experienced English-speaking guides, to provide you the best guided tours of Russia, Mongolia and China. Travel to Russia to visit the most fascinating places beyond Red Square and St. Basil's cathedral Tailor-made holidays, group tours, cultural, leisure and adventure travel to Russia. Talk to the destination experts now to start planning your Trans-Siberian railway tour and vacation package. Small group and private Trans Siberian Express train tours.