When to Travel the Trans-Siberian
The Trans-Siberian is such a vast route but it is largely all in the same climatic zone so when it is cold in Moscow it is also cold in Beijing and vice versa. Mongolia is coldest of all and even in the summer months the nights can be chilly. Firstly, the basic question…
What is the Best Time to Travel the Trans-Siberian?
We would opt for late summer into early autumn as an optimum time climatically with the added bonus of the autumn colours if your timing is right. Saying that we also have a soft spot for the depths of winter – just stock up on thermals! … and when to avoid? The melt in spring – late March into April although this varies each year. Also make sure you miss the first week of October in China due to 1.3 billion local tourists enjoying their national holiday.
Trans-Siberian in the Winter Months
It is very cold everywhere along the route although the cold will not feel that bad in Beijing, particularly if you have come from Russia or Mongolia. For some this is the best time to travel as, to put it simply, Siberia looks like Siberia! The silent snow shrouded forests, frozen rivers and people wrapped up in furs all add enormously to the atmosphere.
There are also far fewer tourists taking the Trans-Siberian in winter which some might consider a bonus. There is nothing like being on a warm snug train as you cross freezing, snow blanketed Siberia.
Spring Along the Trans-Siberian
Probably the least advisable time to be in Russia is when the snow melts in early spring although late spring can be lovely. We are not convinced Mongolia actually has a spring as it seems to lurch from winter to something approaching summer overnight depending on when the wind changes from a northerly Siberian blast to a warmer southerly breeze.
Spring in northern China can be temperamental but as it normally coincides with Easter and is a popular time to be there. Generally, spring is not a popular time time to take the Trans-Siberian.
Trans-Siberian in the Summer
Having a continental climate Russia can be surprisingly hot in summer and July and August are certainly the most popular months to take a Trans-Siberian tour. Despite occasional heat waves it is generally good weather through Russia.
Mongolia is usually fine during its short summer with warm days and pleasantly cool nights. China is hot and humid and gets wetter the further south you go but this does not seem to put people off visiting at this time and August is a peak season for locals traveling on their holidays in China. The Summer is also the most popular time for tourists to take the Trans-Siberian.
Trans-Siberian Travel in Autumn
Early autumn in Russia can be the best time to travel especially if you catch the autumn colours as you cross Siberia and early autumn is a popular time for Trans-Siberian tours for this reason. With luck the weather can be cool but still very pleasant. Autumn is brief in Mongolia and hard to predict although it is usual for it to be colder in Mongolia than in Russia despite Mongolia being further south.
Autumn in China is the best time to travel across the entire country although do what you can to avoid the first week of October which is a national holiday and exceptionally busy for local tourism.
Climate Chart for St Petersburg
Climate Chart for Moscow
Climate Chart for Ekaterinburg
Climate Chart for Irkutsk
Climate Chart for Ulaanbaatar
Climate Chart for Beijing
By Phil Stanley