One of the first things that hits you at the beginning of your Trans-Siberian tour is the size of your cabin. Nevertheless by the time you have sorted all your nick knacks into all the cubby holes and made a nice cup of tea from the constant hot water of the samovar, you start feeling settled in. As the train moves out of the station most of your thoughts turn to relaxing and the view that soon becomes dark as you move out of the city. Even though the beds are quite hard, I was soon rocked to sleep by the motion of the train. Still had I known the beds were so hard I would have brought a camping mat. Another thing you’re not expecting is breaking in the middle of the night which jolts you out of your sleep. But over the next few days, you soon become used to this and fall quickly back to sleep.

Night time encounters on the Trans-Siberian train

Also a definite must for night time are pyjamas. These are good for a few reasons; firstly if you are awake with excitement or chatting to people, you can throw a coat on and nip out on platforms at night stops. Platforms are a whole new world at night. Secondly no one wants to meet someone on the way to the loo in their pants! As lovely as you might be, when your half asleep and half dressed, someone waving “hi” and grinning from ear to ear, can be scary! It is also worth remembering that the noises you hear when the train is stopped are the metal underneath cooling and not the people in the other room being frisky!! Though sometimes you maybe unsure - this is not so much the mile high club, as the mile an hour club!!! No one cares what you look like or do as long as your friendly. I spent a lot of time going up and down the train. The doors between carriages are quite an adventure!! I’m sure many people jumped when a little English woman (me) popped her head round their door saying “ooo! more English speaking people”. This works very well for hot chocolate and soup swaps!
blog on the train 1
blog on the train 2

Daily routine on the Trans-Siberian train

Upon waking filling your hot flask provided in every cabin from the samovar (this cools at longer stops) is an important start to the day. Sitting and enjoying the view over tea or coffee is so much nicer than your normal morning rush. And as always the first topic of the day is where we are and what time is it. Closely followed by where did the people in cabin 3 go and who are the people in cabin 4? As people get on and off mostly at night there is always new people to get to know. All this can be done with your door closed or open. We were always concerned of missing something so mostly had our door open. After however long you like you can dress for the adventures of the day. Flip flops are also a good idea as they are easy to put on for toilet trips and floors can be wet. I also take towels everywhere I go. Even if I’m staying in a hotel I carry a hand towel when going out for the day as they are so useful, I have required them for covering my shoulders when in cathedrals, sitting on, drying my feet after a paddle and so on.

Trans-Siberian Train Dining Cars

A great place to hang out is always the dining car. Cars and staff change from country to country. The food, staff and environment of the Chinese and Mongolian cars are lovely, and they spoke English. They have no problem with you sitting with one cup of tea for hours. The Russian car was very different. The staff were “to the point”, didn’t like you just sitting (this might have been because they were all just sitting around) and at about 9pm disco lights and music comes on (very odd). They don’t like you taking photos or just hanging around. This however is just one car on one train. Remember that people and situations are different for every train.


This is the third in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who recently completed a Trans-Siberian tour with us from Moscow to Shanghai via the Trans-Mongolian, Beijing and Xian.



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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