How to Plan Your Best Journey on The Trans-Siberian Railway

Getting on the Trans-Siberian railway train is a must if you are travelling to Russia or Asia. Maybe you have heard of some delightful places you can see on the road, or perhaps you just really like trains. No matter, we are here to help you to plan the best journey on the Trans-Siberian railway ever!

Check Your Visa Requirements

First and foremost, get the proper paperwork. Get this out of the way, and then onto the fun part!

Citizens of most countries must apply for a Russian visa prior to entering the Trans-Siberian Railway trip. The same goes for China as well.

However, Mongolia has some more exceptions, so do your research carefully before you start planning anything else. Acquiring a visa takes time, and the advisable time in advance to apply for one is approximately seven weeks.

You will also need proof of the application when you enter any of the Trans-Siberian rail tours.

Pick A Route

There are three main routes for you to choose from, depending on what you want to see and your final, desired destination. We hope to help you pick one!

  • Trans-Siberian Line

The Trans-Siberian route is the least popular one among travellers but probably the most talked about. In a week’s time, you will cover over 9000 km and will cross seven time zones. After Irtskuk, this route carries on to eastern Siberia and deeper into the wilderness. You will get to see impressive scenery, rivers and mountains, forests, and remote Siberian villages. Finally, the journey ends in Vladivostok.

Siberian wilderness
  • Trans-Mongolian Line

With a length of nearly 8000 km, the Trans-Mongolian line is said to be the most exciting one. In six days, tourists will experience Siberia’s wilderness, Russia’s industrial sites, and wondrous sights of Mongolia. Afterwards, the train continues the journey through China’s rice fields, offering glimpses at the Great Wall of China. The final stop is Beijing, the magnificent capital city in the heart of China.

Beijing, China
  • Trans-Manchurian Line

The Trans-Manchurian follows the Trans-Siberian line all the way up to China, but rather than continuing east, it diverts into North-Eastern China and reaches Beijing seven days after departing. This route is less popular than the Trans-Mongolian one but does not require a Mongolian visa, making it easier for travellers. 

Plan Your Stops

There are plenty of fantastic sights along the way, no matter which route you choose, and you will have some time to explore. However, write out the ones that interest you the most when you do.

  • Trans-Siberia Line

Stop at Yekaterinburg, a city in Russia settled on the shore of the Iset River to admire its museums, churches, and other monumental establishments.

Moreover, make time to explore the area of Lake Baikal. The sights of the biggest freshwater lake in the world will help you relax, and you can even have a picnic nearby!

  • Trans-Mongolian Line

This is considered the most exciting route of all and for a good reason. You can stop at Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, see people of different cultures and traditions.

Another great city to visit is the largest one in Siberia – Irkutsk. Admire the 19th-century architecture and prestigious museums. From there, the road leads straight to Lake Baikal!

If you wish to know more about customs and local life in Mongolia, take some time to explore the Terelj National Park.

  • Trans-Manchurian Line

Get to know the history of Karymskoye village, one of the first stops on this route. Interestingly, back in the 18th century, only the Buryats who converted to Orthodoxy were allowed to live here.

Another highlight on the Trans-Manchurian Railroad is the Hailar District, a city in Northern China. Here you will see the famous, picturesque steppes and the looming mountains.

Keep in mind that planning a trip this big takes time. So be patient and attentive to make sure you check all the boxes, and before you know it, the only thing left to do will be to pack a bag. All aboard!

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