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  • Writer's pictureTania Wee

Top 5 FAQs about the Grand Trans-Siberian

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

  • 9,258km running from Moscow to Vladivostok.

  • The longest trainway line in the world that crosses through seven time zones.

  • Is over 100 years old and connects to the Far East

To say that the Grand Trans-Siberian Railway’s legendary amongst travellers is an understatement. Did you know that a huge chunk of Russia, the world’s largest country is in the Siberian region – an area once closed off to the rest of world during the Soviet Union? During this time, only the elites could enter and only by train. Now this once-remote region can be accessed and explored by travellers by hopping on and off the Grand Trans-Siberian trains.

Getting on the train, unfortunately, is no picnic. A messy tangle of administration and the language barrier can confuse the process. To simplify the checklist:

  • Getting a Russian visa

  • Booking the right class of cabin on trains

  • Finding the right train and platform

  • Understanding the seemingly random schedules across so many time zones in a short space of time.

Unsurprisingly, many travellers opt to enlist travel agents. Through our many years of experience, we have assisted with many inquiries about the Grand Trans-Siberian Rail. So, let us put some of your burning questions to rest as we answer them here. Q1. Which route should I consider?

A: There are three principal routes to consider, with multiple train services along them.

  • The first is the longest railway known as the Trans-Siberian and it crosses the enormous breadth of Russia, from Moscow via Perm, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, Chita and Khabarovsk to the Pacific Ocean at Vladivostok. A complete journey takes up to 8 days from end to end. This steel ribbon has connected Moscow to Vladivostok since 1916 and is still being expanded till this day.

  • The Trans-Mongolian follows the Trans-Siberian Railway until Ulan-Ude, where it splits off and takes the Trans-Mongolian route. Many travellers have shared that this is most exciting route to take out of the three. While you can do the trip direct, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Mongolia. If you plan to do stopovers, this must be pre-arranged, and tickets organised accordingly. We offer travellers the option of a 6,300km train journey from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar via the charted Grand Trans-Siberian Express.

  • The Trans-Manchurian follows that route further, past Ulan Ude to Chita, before crossing Chinese Manchuria to Beijing running to 8,961km. The older of the two routes to China was completed in the 1900s and is served by one train a week taking six nights, using Russian first- and second-class coaches.

Q2. How long should my trip be? A: Ideally 10 – 12 days between Moscow to Ulaanbaatar is a good duration as this allows you to hop on and off the train for a day’s visit to selected countryside cities, stay overnight in a hotel before boarding the connecting train the following day.

You can “enjoy” a 7-8 days onboard the train from end to end but that doesn’t let you see Siberia. If you want to stop at every city along the way, it can end up taking up to 19-20 days as the next train for the next leg of your journey will only come along every other few days.

Q3. Which travelling style suit me? A: There are various ways to experience the Trans-Siberian Railway.

  • Firstly, there is the backpacker style that involves sharing a cabin with strangers onboard the regular train. Best travel light as you will need to bring your luggage with you throughout the whole train journey. Stock up on wet wipes as there are no shower facilities onboard the train.

  • On the other extreme, there is the upmarket option on the hotel-train style of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. The trains are privately chartered and good news, some of the rooms have an ensuite bathroom! Muslim travellers need not worry about their food as Muslim-friendly meals are prepared onboard as well.

  • Then there is third option that offers the best of both worlds. With this option, you ride a private charted train with a private cabin just for you and enjoy an escorted mid-range tour through several cities along the way. You get to combine hotel and train stays throughout the entire trip so that it isn’t so taxing and allows a change in pace and scenery.

Q4: When is the best time to go on Trans- Siberian railway?

A: The Trans-Siberian Railway operates all year round. But tickets in May to September tend to tell out fast as the summer months have the best weather and longest daylight hours. During the day, you will be able to enjoy the scenery for longer periods and sunshine and warmth during the brief train stops.

Q5. So how should I start planning?

A: Reservations are required for all trains and it’s impossible to just hop on and off without them. To save time and the headache of planning out the logistics, many prefer the simplicity of booking an all-inclusive package with travel companies such as us.

We offer a 12-day adventure onboard the Grand Trans-Siberian Express, providing a memorable train journey through some of the most remote regions in the world. We will handle your itinerary, accommodations both on the trains and in cities, your meals and of course, ensure that you see and experience the best of the Siberian lands.

Best of all: daily shower facilities are guaranteed!

Our programs include:

  • Individual or group escorted tour packages from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar

  • Russia Visa application

  • Flight arrangement

  • Comfortable and well-balance of overnight stay on both 5-6 nights in hotel and 6 nights train

  • Professional tour escorts and train manager

  • Full board meals

  • Daily sightseeing on 7 major cities (Moscow, Yekanterinburg, Novosibrisk, Kranoyarsk, Ulan Ude, Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar)

So are you ready now to embark on your next travel journey into the unknown onboard the Grand Trans-Siberian Express? Head on over to this link to find out more.

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