The minimum time to complete the routes is from 5 to 8 days depending on the route and train used. On top of this you need at least 1 night at each end of the line. however, few take the Trans-Siberian that quickly with the vast majority of people stopping off at least twice along the way to see more of the places they are passing through and the break up the train journey.
There is no "hop on, hop off" type of ticket for the Trans-Siberian. Each time you get off you will need to have a new ticket for the next section of your trip. As ticket availability in the summer months can be difficult this means planning which stops you are going to make and for how long you will stay in them so you can have the ticket for the next leg bought in advance.
On the Trans-Mongolian route from Moscow to Beijing the most popular stops to make are Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk (for Lake Baikal) and Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar with some time in the surrounding countryside. Other stops that are becoming increasingly popular are Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and Ulan Ude. Learn more about the stops to make in our "Where to stop" section.
Keeping it technical, the Trans-Siberian does not leave Russia running from Moscow to Vladivostok. The Trans-Mongolian travels through Russia and Mongolia to China. The Trans-Manchurian misses Mongolia and covers Russia and China. See more about the various routes and a map here.
We believe it is - more so than many railway systems worldwide. Back in the 1990s there were stories of it being unsafe but these are now consigned to history and the trains are well policed, cabins lockable and secure and the staff usually take extra care to look out for foreign tourists. Normal common sense is all you need today.