The longest rail trip in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East. Traveling through eight time zones – a third of the world’s total – with a mind-boggling total length of 6500, it is easily the most impressive transport system the world has ever seen. Passing by the world’s largest freshwater lake, the expansive steppe, over the colossal Ural mountains and finishing in Moscow, the Trans-Siberian Railway takes all of Russia’s most memorable, tourist hot-spots and makes them easily accessible in one trip. Sounds good, right? Well in this article we are going to show you exactly how to ride the Trans-Siberian railway in style. Be sure to add this to your BUCKiTDREAM and get ready for the trip of your life!
Contrary to popular belief, rather than a single train line, the Trans-Siberian Railway is a lattice of overlapping and connecting train lines. Through combining the various possible routes it’s possible to create your own unique trip that allows you to stop only where you want to and to shoot past the places you have no interest in. The main route of the Trans-Siberian Railway begins in Moscow at Yaroslavsky Vokzal, runs through Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita, and Khabarovsk to Vladivostok (all highly memorable and easily pronounced names) via southern Siberia.
This trip can be taken year-round and the experiences reaped from the hot summer days swimming in the world’s greatest lake or trekking through the Mongolian grasslands are vastly different from those frosty, winter months where dog sledding and snowmobiling are the norms.
Our highest-recommended sights are the ethereal Lake Baikal and the vast grassland plains of Mongolia. Lake Baikal, considered sacred by Siberian tribes, is a rift lake located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast. It contains 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water and is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are endemic. Completely surrounded by mountains and containing many large lake islands, as well as a great variety of fauna, it makes for unforgettable views.
The Mongolian grasslands, also known as the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe, covers a dizzying 900,000 square km (well, almost) area. The fauna found in this area include the gray wolf, the Mongolian gazelle, wild horses, foxes, and brown-eared pheasants.
Due to the trends of livestock privatization and the collapse of the Mongolian economy, once urbanized folk have returned to rural lifestyles.This has resulted in the number of herdsmen in Mongolia tripling in the past decade! It’s here that you can hear the distinct, high-pitched yearning sounds of the horse-headed fiddle and Mongolian throat singing, the two of these are completely mesmerizing and coupling them with views of rolling plains that extend out what seems like forever in every direction will be one of the best experiences you ever have.
Petersburg, is generally where travelers begin their journey. In this city, you will find a contrast between the imperial grandeur and the soviet stoicism sitting side by side. Here you can find St. Isaac’s Cathedral State Museum, the fourth largest cathedral in the world (especially beautiful lit up at night). With beautiful columns, pilasters, a shiny, flawless floor all composed of multicolored granites and marbles gathered from all parts of Russia, impressive chandeliers, scores of artistic decorations, all finished with the many flourishes of master sculptors, it makes for quite the experience. As well as this, there is the Church of the Savior on Blood (built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded) which showcases medieval Russian architecture with more than 7,500 square meters of mosaics – more than any other church in the world. Its interior was designed by some of Russia’s most venerated artists. Truly a sight to behold.
So, Yeah, the Restaurant Car… There is a 24-hour restaurant car, located in the middle of the trains. By our estimation, the food isn’t great and the prices are hiked up on a limited menu of Russian food. Instead, we recommend stocking up in the towns and cities at which the trains stop.
To Shower or Not to Shower (Please Shower) On the main inter-city trains, there is a shower cubicle in the Service Wagon. There is a small cost to use it, and you have to book in advance so they know to heat the water. Be warned, the price doesn’t include soap or a towel, so be sure to bring your own!
Now you’re ready to tackle the Trans-Siberian Railway in true style, so get your ticket ready, pack your bags and venture into the great unknown. Be sure to share any cool images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and don’t forget to share your favorite tips in your BUCKiTDREAM planner!