Tips To Avoid Mistakes On The Trans Siberian Train

There are actually three different routes that you can take on the Trans Siberian railway and make the most of your journey, it is important to understand where they go.

Tips To Avoid Mistakes On The Trans Siberian Train

Choosing Your Trans Siberian Trip 

The original route, considered by many as the “true” route, stretches 9,258 Km from Vladivostok to Moscow and takes 7 days. 

This route only travels through Russia, while many like the Trans Manchurian and Trans Mongolian routes, with the former travelling from Beijing and is especially popular in the winter as it stops in Harbin, the home of the magical Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. 

The Trans Mongolian is the shortest and most popular route, taking just over 5 days, offering the most diverse scenery and giving people a chance to see the wonders of Mongolia. To see the routes, check out this Trans Siberian Railway map now

Don’t Always Trust The Schedule

While there is a schedule stating how long the train will stop for in each destination, it is always advisable to check with your conductor at every stop. If the train arrived half an hour late, the one-hour scheduled stop, may now only be 30 minutes. 

Every time you get off the train, remember to take your passport, some cash in local currency and your ticket, just in case the train leaves without you. 

Should this happen, talk to the station master, who apparently has an excellent reputation for getting you down the road to reunite you with your train and your luggage. 

Visas And Border Crossings 

Depending on your route, you are going to need at least one visa and possibly three. The Chinese visa is relatively easy to get and normally takes four days, requiring proof of accommodation, along with reservations into and out of the country.

The Mongolian visa is also relatively straightforward, taking 2-5 days to complete with little complications.

The Russian visa however, can be difficult, as the slightest perceived error can mean rejection, so it is advisable to allow plenty of time to get it and you should not confirm your train ticket until you have it.

If there are any international border crossings, you should be prepared for lengthy delays, especially at the Chinese borders, where the train is lifted from one set of wheels or bogies, and set on another, due to the different gauge of track. 

Food, Drink, And Money

It is advisable to bring a few things for your comfort as well as some basic utensils. A spoon, fork and knife with a mug and a plate will be things you were glad you packed, and some basic condiments like salt and pepper are advisable.

Sachets of coffee and sugar are a good idea, as hot water is available free in all carriages, and some snacks are not only nice to nibble on, but can also help break the ice when getting to know some of your fellow travellers.

Having local currency in advance in sensible amounts is advisable, as you can easily miss your train while searching for an ATM and exchange rates at the borders are notoriously bad. 

To really make the most of your trip, a basic phrase book will come in very useful. A please and a thank you are always appreciated in any language.

Avoid drinking with Russians, because you will mostly likely be unable to outlast them in staying sane and a train is not a nice place for a hangover.

Above all, research your trip thoroughly in advance and then get ready to enjoy the adventure.