Tips for Travelling the Trans Siberian Rail

Tips for Travelling the Trans Siberian Rail

Siberia isn’t somewhere we all get to see. It’s a vast wilderness, home to stunning scenery and traditional culture. Taking the Trans Siberian railway gives travellers the opportunity to experience it for themselves, while enabling them to reach such far flung destinations as Vladivostok, Beijing, Korea or Japan (although the latter two require a connecting ferry).

It can be the experience of a lifetime, but is something you have to plan for in advance. Here are a few tips to make your planning a little easier.

Arrange your currency before you go

It’s really a must to arrange your currency before you depart on your trip. If you decide to make a few stops along the way in deepest Siberia you won’t want to be relying on searching for an ATM before you can find food and accommodation. You’ll need to arrange your Rubles before you go, but to get the best deal it’s advisable to check foreign exchange rates before you purchase. If you’re heading onto China, Japan or Korea ensure you also have some currency in your pocket to avoid unnecessary issues when your feet hit foreign soil. It’s best to buy euros or dollars before you go so that you have some hard cash to trade with once you get there.

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Don’t fly to Moscow – get the train

We’re all about doing it properly and you should be too. If you’re planning on getting the train all the way to the Far East you should do exactly that. Moscow may be the starting point for the Trans Siberian, but it isn’t the starting point of your journey. When beginning in the UK, it’s easy to get the train from London St. Pancras to Moscow. You can arrange tickets quickly and easily online. It will feel so much more exciting if you start your train journey from the UK. London to the Far East; what a trip that could be.

Decide on your route

There are various different routes you can take on the Trans Siberian taking you to different destinations, but there’s also the chance of stopping off along the way. If you’re heading to Vladivostok it can be a very tedious seven day trip so it’s advisable to get off a see a little of Siberia. However, the more varied scenery and camaraderie along the direct Moscow to Beijing route makes non-stop travel enjoyable and also maximises your time in China.

Arrange visas before you travel

You’re going to need visas. You’ll need a Russian visa to begin your journey and if you go onto China, Japan or Korea you’ll need a visa there too. Don’t try and wing it as you could get into trouble if you don’t have the correct documentation, so make sure you have this arranged before you leave.

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On board survival tips

Moscow to Beijing takes around six days and despite the amazing views you will get along the way, you may find yourself becoming a bit bored from time to time. Bring along some books, magazines or music to tide you over and take advantage of the stops to hop off and stretch your legs. If you’re booked onto a second class train you may or may not be surprised to know that there are no showers on board! Baby wipes and hand gel are a godsend in these situations so make sure you stock up before you go. When it comes to food, the restaurant prices can be a bit pricey, so do as the locals do and grab some bread, hard-boiled eggs, cakes and dried noodles at station stops.

Have you taken the Trans-Siberian Rail? How was it for you? Share your stories below!..

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