Here we discuss our "Off The Beaten Track" series of rail tours and holidays. The idea behind these special tours is to introduce those looking for a more in-depth and extensive Trans-Siberian experience to some of the less visited but still highly worthwhile destinations to visit along the rail routes.

What are the popular stops and less visited destinations?

When we talk about popular stops we are including Moscow, St Petersburg, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk and Ekaterinburg. These are the highlights and together make for an excellent all round Trans-Siberian holiday. There are, however, many other stops along the rail routes and although the majority are never likely to make it into and itinerary there are several which really add to the overall experience such a tour can offer the intrepid traveller. In this list we include Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan Ude and Sainshand which is a stop in Mongolia near the border with China that allows for some exploring of the East Gobi desert.

What do these off the beaten track destinations offer?

In short they offer a more rounded experience of this epic rail journey and the chance to visit places less geared to tourism which can often produce a fascinating cultural experience and deeper insight into the country. Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan where European Russian culture brushes up and lives in harmony with a more Central Asian Islamic culture. The city is wealthy as the province has many natural resources including oil fields. Kazan’s Kremlin is the only one in Russia that has both an orthodox church and mosque inside its walls making for an interesting contrast in architecture.

Krasnoyarsk is a prosperous city between Ekaterinburg and Irkutsk and is a great way to break up what is otherwise a long train journey. The city itself has much of interest and has a superb location on the mighty Yenisey River which flows to the arctic. Perhaps the chief draws though are outside of the city with the huge dam and the Stolby National park and its superb Siberian scenery offering something unique along the route.
Ulan Ude is the capital of Buryatia located between Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar at the junction between the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian rail routes. The city is another superb example of different cultures living together with Russians mixing with The Mongol Buryat peoples making for a real “East meets West” experience. Outside the city are some excellent monasteries amongst the remote scenery of this region.
The eastern part of the Gobi Desert is transected by the Trans-Mongolian railway making this area considerably easier and more cost effective to visit than the Central Gobi. The East Gobi doesn’t have the huge dunes of the Central Gobi but the scenery is stark and wild and meeting the few hardly people who live out here breeding camels is a unique experience. This area is also famous for dinosaur fossils which are surprisingly easy to find in some areas.

Where can you see these tours?

The initial run out of these tours can be found under our tours starting in Moscow and St Petersburg - just scroll down to the “Off the Beaten Rail Track” section. Over the coming weeks the tours starting in Beijing and Vladivostok will also be updated and we will continue to add tours including more trips from Moscow that finish in Vladivostok. As ever, if you have any questions at all please just ask us and we very much look forward to hearing from you soon.



Siberia's Top 5

Siberia is one of the highlights of a Trans-Siberian journey and most visitors will undoubtedly have at least one stop in this magnificent region.

A Plumb Adventure

The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's staff member Chris Plumb took an epic journey from Vladivostok to St Petersburg visa Mongolia and the Tsars Gold train.

Trips Avoiding China

In the past most tourists have focused on the Trans-Mongolian to Beijing but in recent years the Trans-Siberian line to Vladivostok has become increasingly popular.

Visiting St Petersburg

Is it worth adding on a visit to the second city of Russia; St Petersburg? After all, it isn’t strictly a part of the Trans Siberian or Mongolian train lines.

Moscow Metro

There are so many options of tours in Moscow but a Metro tour should be the top of everyone’s list and is one of our favourites with plenty of surprises!

Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

One of the most popular stops on any Trans Mongolian or Trans Siberian Railway tour is the wonderful Siberian city of Irkutsk and nearby Lake Baikal.

Destination Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and one of the most popular stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway offering up history and rural Russia in the Urals.

Moscow's Kremlin

Literally meaning “fortress inside a city” the Moscow Kremlin refers to the fortified collection of palaces and cathedrals that look over Red Square.

St Petersburg's Hermitage

The State Hermitage is one of the world’s oldest museums having been founded by Catherine the Great 250 years ago and has been open to the public for over 160 years.

First Time China

As this was my first time in China I was keen to see as much as possible. We settled on Beijing, Xian and Shanghai which offer great contrasts.

Platform Life

This trip is full of discovery but you have to also get up and go out on the platforms to find the most exciting experiences to complete your Trans-Siberian trip.

Train Life

Guest blog entry describing life on board a Trans-Siberian train and the daily coming and going and routines you get into on a long train ride.

What Route to Take

When first exploring into the Trans Siberian railway, one of the first questions to ask yourself is which way to go. Here our guest blogger gives her views.

Moscow Impressions

First in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who completed a Trans-Mongolian trip with us from Moscow all the way to Shanghai.

Trans-Siberian History

Learn about the history of this extraordinary railway in our brief guide to the construction and importance of the train routes across Russia and to China.

Tsars Gold Train

The Tsars Gold private train is one of several that run tours just for tourists in a good level of comfort along the Trans-Mongolian route. Learn more here.

Life On Board

What is a Siberian train really like? Here we go into detail about what you experience on the trains and how they really are and what facilities they have.

Destination Vladivostok

Vladivostok lies at the Far Eastern end of the Trans-Siberian railway and has been a city that has had an important part in the history of several countries.

Destination Krasnoyarsk

One of the lesser know destinations available for Trans-Siberian Tours is a stopover in the city of Krasnoyarsk despite being the third largest in Siberia.

About Siberia

With a total size of 13.1 million square miles Siberia takes up three quarters of Russia’s total size and a tenth of the whole world’s surface - learn more.

Off The Beaten Track

Learn about our Off The Beaten track rail tours that visit destinations less visited along the Siberian and Trans-Mongolian rail routes including Kazan and Krasnoyarsk.

Gers in Winter

One of the Highlights of a Trans-Siberian Tour is Mongolia and a night or two out at a ger camp on the steppe. How about visiting Mongolian ger camps in winter?

Visa Requirements

There are few nationalities that can take a Trans-Siberian trip visa free. This article intends to shed some light on the paperwork required by most.

Bogie Changing

Whether you are a train aficionado or not one of the more unusual Trans-Siberian tours experiences available to the traveller occurs at the Chinese borders.

Planning A Trip

For many people the idea of how to start organizing their Trans Siberian holiday is a daunting task. Here is a beginner’s guide to deciding what’s best for you.

Trans-Siberian in Winter

Winter is a very special time to travel the Trans-Siberian but many might be put off by the cold. This article will hopefully convince you to dress up warm and travel!

Accommodation Options

One of the joys of Trans-Siberian is the wide variety of accommodation on offer. Here we list some of the best options for the most popular stop overs.

Destination Kazan

Kazan is half way between Moscow and Ekaterinburg and an increasingly popular stop on Trans-Siberian trips for its exciting mix of cultures from East and West.

Trans-Siberian Routes

In this article we discuss the different Trans-Siberian route options available including the Trans-Manchurian, Trans-Mongolian and the Baikal Amur Mainline.

Who Travels The Trans-Siberian

Using the public trains in Russia who are you likely to come across on your Trans-Siberian travels. Here we discuss the different groups you are likely to find.

Train Classes

Picking the right train class can make all the difference on a Trans-Siberian train trip where so much time is spent on board. Learn about the different train classes here.

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