The Trans-Siberian railway is an iconic travel adventure on the top of many travellers’ bucket list. Built between 1891 and 1916 (and still being expanded), it traverses through 8 time zones and has connecting branches with China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It is a network of railways spanning over an impressive 9,289 kilometres (5,772 miles) from Moscow to the Russian Far East. This makes it the world’s largest railway line, and third-longest single continuous service.
The primary route begins in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok via southern Siberia. On the way it hits up Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita, and Khabarovsk. Of course, you’re free to get on and off where you please! Just as well, since this route takes an epic 8 days to complete.
A second primary route is the Trans-Manchurian. This weekly K19 train leaves Beijing every Saturday to Moscow via Manchuria. From Tarskaya you will head East back onto the Trans-Siberian at Ussuriysk, just north of Vladivostok. It is the quickest way to Vladivostok but still takes a daunting six days+ to complete.
The third main route is the Trans-Mongolian. This sticks around on the Trans-Siberian main route until Ulan-Ude where it then heads Southeast to Beijing.
Baikal Amur Mainline
This fourth route is the newest of them all. They finished the much-anticipated construction after more than 5 decades of construction. It breaks off from the Trans-Siberian mainline at Taishet, heading to the Northernmost extremities and reaching the Tatar Strait at Sovetskaya Gavan. In October 2011, the first trip was made from Khasan to Rajin, North Korea.
For all trips, advanced booking is required. Whilst you can hop on and off to enjoy the sights (trust us, you’ll want to!), this must be planned in advance with the required bookings made. This can be done by booking individual trips on sites such RealRussia. You can find detailed information can also on Seat 61.
YPT Eurasian Adventure Tour
Booking every train ticket and hotel for every stop can be very time-consuming. Why not cut out the middleman and join Young Pioneer Tours on what is truly the tour of a lifetime on our Adventure Eurasian Tour.
17 countries, 41 days, 40 nights, and a whole lot of fun!
Starting in Beijing, the journey takes you throughout nuclear wastelands, unrecognized states, Soviet timewarps and more. Over the course of the 41 days, you’ll be heading through Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Bucharest, Sofia, Zagreb, and Warsaw – to name but a very small few! All the while visiting both some of the most popular and some of the least unexplored sights that Europe and Asia have to offer.
If 41 days traveling and bumming around on the train with the same group of people seems a bit too intense for you, YPT also offers the chance for groups to join and leave at different points during the journey. The Irkutsk and Lake Baikal tour, for example, offers unique experiences such as visiting Stalin’s ‘fish gulag’ at Peshchanaya village and having a bonfire meal and drinks with the local Shamanistic Buryat people.
You have the freedom of shaping the itinerary to how you want it, without any of the booking hassles yourself! Plus, you’ll be in the safe hands of the YPT guides and get to meet lots of interesting people.
Obtaining a Russian tourist visa isn’t the most straightforward of processes, but YPT can provide a same-day invitation letter to get you underway. Visa applications must be made in advance.
Whilst this rail line continues to attract foreign tourists from around the globe, its main passengers are domestic. This adds to the appeal of the journey, as you not only get to see an incredible span of land but also get to meet and embrace the warm hospitality of the locals. This as well as many other adventurers along the way from around the globe!