faqs covering the trans-siberian & BOOKING

How Far in Advance Do I Need to Book?

The Trans-Siberian can be quite a complex trip with a definite peak season when tickets and good hotel rooms can become scarce so we recommend booking as far in advance as possible is you are travelling from June to the end of September. Outside of this period we still recommend booking at least 2 months in advance to allow plenty of time to obtain the visas.

Can You Obtain the Visas for Us?

We have a partnership with the excellent visa agents CIBT Visa Central who will guide you through the visa application process. As you are likely to be obtaining more than one visa for a Trans-Siberian trip it makes sense to make use of a specialised visa agent who will do the leg work running between the various embassies. We provide full details of their service on booking with us or you can view our partner page by clicking here.

can you cater to my dietary requirements

As long as we know in advance we can cater for almost all dietary requirements for the meals we provide on the trip. We can also get your dietary needs translated into Russian, Mongolian or Chinese for when you make your own meal arrangements.

Can You Book International Flights?

Yes, as we hold an ATOL license 10287 we are able to book both internal flights in Russia, Mongolia and China as well as any international flight requirements you might have. We are also a British Airways Appointed Operator so have access to good rates.

Is It Safe to Book With You?

In a word, Yes! We members of ABTA and ATOL Bonded so any payments made to us are fully protected in the unlikely event of our financial failure. Our ABTA membership number is Y1699 and our ATOL license number is 10287. You can check these on their websites or by clicking the logos to the right.

Can You Book Services Beyond the Trans-Siberian?

Yes, we can book flight or train tickets to onward destinations and we are also specialist China tour operators through The China Travel Company.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Travel?

The summer months from June to the end of August are generally considered the best and are certainly the busiest. However, catching the Autumn colours from early September is probably our favourite time to visit Russia although Mongolia can already be quite cold. China tends to be best in September and October although do try and avoid the week long National Day holiday during the 1st week of October. We are also partial to winter trips when Siberia looks stunning and if you can combine this with the amazing Harbin Snow and Ice Festival held each January, well, that’s another favourite of ours!

Is It Worth Travelling in Winter?

Oh Yes! As mentioned above, a favourite time of ours. Siberia looks amazing, a ger stay in Mongolia is the definition of cosy and Beijing is cold but dry and sunny. All three countries are very used to dealing with winter making the experience more comfortable than you might think.

Do MONGOLIAN Gers Have Electricity?

Many ger camps will have electricity now either from generators or solar panels. It won’t always be a reliable supply though.

Are MONGOLIAN Ger Camps Open in the Winter Months?

Many ger camps close in the winter. A few do remain open in the grasslands around Ulaanbaatar though. The season for ger camps generally runs from mid-May to the end of September or early October. In the winter the camps close because they become difficult to reach and facilities need to be shut down to avoid pipes freezing. Even the ger camps that do remain open will be on a “winter regime” which means no running water and basic toilet facilities (long drop style). A winter ger experience is thoroughly worthwhile though!

Do Tours Include Entrance Fees?

All tours include the entrance fees for the sights visited in the itinerary unless is expressly says these are extra.

What Clothes Should I Bring?

This is very dependent on the time of year. In the summer it is hot almost everywhere so light and well ventilated summer clothing is essential as well as protection from the sun – sunglasses and a hat. Autumn and spring can be a bit unpredictable but if the weather is good it will be the same as you would wear on a good summers day in the UK. Winters are cold and layers of warm clothing are the way to go. These countries are not so formal for dress although respect should be shown in Churches and Temples. Besides that, for touring around anything within reason goes although you may want more smart casual attire for decent restaurants in the evening.

Can We Upgrade Hotels?

Yes, we can offer wide range of upgrades or you can tell us where you would like to stay and we can quote for that. The hotels we offer as standard are good mid-range options that we have, in almost all cases, inspected and often stayed in ourselves.

What Happens Once We Make a Booking?

On taking a booking we will confirm as many of the services as can be at that point and then ask you for a £250 per person deposit with the final balance payment due 60 days before your trip start date with us. On booking we will also offer advice about obtaining the visas if this has not been covered before and about 1 month before your trip with us starts we will send you our comprehensive Trip Guidebook tailored to your specific trip with us.

Is Trans-Siberian Travel Safe?

Currently many governments (mainly of Western countries) advise against all travel to Russia due to the war with Ukraine. You should check what your government travel advice is. We can still arrange trips though for people not put off or effected by this.
In recent years we hear of very few problems either on the stops or the trains and there is no reason why you should not feel as safe if not safer than if travelling in your home country. This applies to men or women traveling alone or with others and exercising reasonable common sense.

Will My Phone Work?

Yes. You’ll find good to reasonable reception along most of the Trans-Siberian line with the connection jumping from various providers and countries. In major cities it is easy to buy a pay as you go SIM card for your phone and ATMs can be used to top up. Alternatively, you can just buy cards at the many kiosks. If you don’t buy a local SIM be aware of high data charges from your home provider if you don’t switch that function off.

How Much Money Will I Need to Take With Me?

The bulk of your costs are taken care of when booking with us so you will only be spending on day to day expenses such as additional meals, drinks, souvenirs and any entrance fees on free days. Russia is the most expensive and it is easy to go through £50 a day in Moscow and St Petersburg although less elsewhere. Mongolia is likely to be cheapest as there isn’t that much to spend money on in the countryside. China is between the two with spending from about £30 a day upwards as an approximate guide. On the train it would be difficult to spend more than £20 a day.

Do the Trains Have Plugs for Recharging?

As a rule, yes although if there are 4 of you in a cabin you will need to take turns. You can also ask your provodnitsa nicely if you can use her plugs but that will depend on the individual and they may expect a tip for this. Russian plugs have two round pins. Electrical power in Russia is 220 V. Mongolian plugs have two round pins and power is 220 V / 50Hz. China plugs come in various shapes from 2 round pins to 3 flat pins and power is 220 V / 50Hz


There is reasonable access to the internet in hotels and cafes and in most cities and towns internet cafes are also easy to find. Most hotel reception areas will have WiFi. The trains in Russia have started to include WiFi on newer rolling stock.

What Currency Should I Bring?

We would suggest a mixture of credit / debit cards and a small amount of cash in USD (preferred) or Euros. Many hotels also have exchange machines in the lobby that accept US Dollar or Euro notes that are in good condition. Make sure you let your card provider know you will be in Russia or your card may be stopped!

What Is the Difference Between First and Second Class?

First and second class cabins are the same size and tend to have similar facilities with the only real but big difference being that 2nd class cabins have 4 berths and first class 2 berths. So a couple get privacy and space in first class. A first class carriage will also have less competition for bathroom although this is not usually a big issue or a particular reason to go first class. Second class is arguable more social.

Why Should We Book a Trip With You?

We took our first Trans-Siberian trip in 1997 and between us have taken many trips since with the last fact finding trip in September 2012. We have been to all destinations we offer, often many times, and are passionate about sharing our knowledge and providing you with the best possible travel experience of these destinations which we love to visit ourselves. Add to this the back up we offer from financial protection of your payments to us to the 24 hour emergency numbers we give you before your trip and we think we are the full package for quality, service and reliability.

Can You Organise Tailor Made Tours?

Yes, we can – just let us know your requirements and we will happily put together an itinerary and quote for you.

Is There Anything Else I Should Be Asking?

Almost certainly! We fully expect you will have many more questions and we are here to answer them so please do not hesitate to contact us – that is what we are here for!


Planning Route Options

Map of the Trans-Siberian railway showing the major stops and popular places to visit as well as the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian routes.

Planning Where To Stop

The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's selection of the best places to visit in Russia, Mongolia and China for your trip of a lifetime.

Planning When To Go

The best months of the year to take a Trans-Siberian rail tour - and when not to! Do you prefer the idea of a summer trip, a winter trip or fall colours of autumn?

Planning The Trains

A guide to the main trains used in our The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's tours, differences between first and second train classes and life on board.

Planning Experiences

The staff of The Trans-Siberian Travel Company came up with this list of the best experiences on offer though Russia, Mongolia and China.

Planning Accommodation

From modern to soviet hotels, Mongolian Gers, Siberian Home Stays to traditional style Chinese courtyards, the right hotel selection can make your trip!

Planning Money To Take

What currency to take on a Trans-Siberian tour - Russian Roubles? Mongolian Tugrik? Chinese Yuan RMB? US Dollars? Euros? Find the answers here.

Planning Visa Requirements

Most nationalities will need a visa for their Trans-Siberian trip - find out more information about Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas here.

Planning Vaccinations

Vaccination and inoculations needed or recommended for a Trans-Siberian trip visiting Russia, Mongolia and China. Updated for Covid-19.

Planning FAQs

Our guide to the most frequently asked questions when planning your rail tour and holiday along the Trans-Siberian routes.

Planning Top Tips

Top Tips for a Trans-Siberian railway adventure based on experiences both good and bad from the trips we have done with specific lists for Mongolia and China.

Planning Reading List

The Trans-Siberian Travel Company's suggestions for a good read as you travel along the greatest railway in the world including reading lists for China, Russia and Mongolia.

☎ UK +44 (0) 20 8816 8925info@thetranssiberiantravelcompany.com
All trips are operated by HeadsEast Ltd | UK Company number 6717612 | © Copyright 2008-24 HeadsEast Ltd
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We hold ATOL license 10287 so booking with us gives you 100% financial protection. We are also members of the Association of British Travel Agents. ABTA has strict membership requirements and we are required to adhere to the associations high standards. Our ABTA number is Y1699.
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