|Type of Travel||Type of Traveller||The Train|
|Your Cabin||Scheduling||Design Your Adventure|
Our Trans-Siberian adventures run as an independent package, combining the train journey and stopovers, booked specifically and exclusively for you. You will not be travelling in a group and will not have a group ‘tour’ leader with you. If stopping at intermediate points en route, you will be met on arrival and transferred to your accommodation. You could be sharing your train carriage with Russians, Mongolians or Chinese and find that you are the only Westerner. However, half the fun of the train journey is trying to communicate with your fellow travellers, learning new card games, taking time out to read or just sit back and watch the world go by. There are also a range of optional activities to choose from or you can do your own thing, until your departure transfer to the railway station for your onward journey.
If you like everything to happen like clockwork, for everyone you encounter to speak English on command, are a 'hilton and hairdryer' traveller where nothing but a 5 star establishment will do, are a room service - king or queen hell-bent on a cheeseburger to room 224 within 15 minutes, cannot get by with the help of a trusty guidebook and absolutely cannot cope without 24 hour continual assistance on the ground from travel representatives, then a Trans-Siberian adventure is probably not the type of holiday for you! Our Trans-Siberian adventures are suitable for semi-independent travellers, in search of new experiences, who are happy to live without creature comforts.
The Orient Express or Blue Train it isn’t. Your journey on today’s Trans-Siberian railway will certainly be comfortable rather than luxurious. Utilitarian, solidly built cabins and public areas are the flavour. Generally, each train is around 15 wagons long.
Cabins sport mock-wood surfaces, vinyl banquettes, chrome fixtures, heavy mirrors, elderly light fittings, kitsch patterned curtains and carpet of suspect design. The piece de résistance is the sometime plastic flower in a vase on the little cabin table! That said, your cabin is cosy and warm, particularly in winter and most importantly, offers large windows for great views of the countryside rolling by. A bonus on the train is the samovar - a type of fire-powered kettle/hot water urn, which is good for making tea and coffee. At each end of each wagon is a WC/wash basin.
Almost exclusively, a woman attendant staffs each train wagon. Known in Russia as a provodnitsa, their duties include checking your tickets, distributing pre-packaged linen (at additional and nominal cost) and keeping the public areas of the wagon clean. They also keep their eye on the WC facilities, the samovar and the cabins.
All routes longer than 24 hours have a buffet/dining car service (operated by the railway company of the country you are in). Available to all passengers, you can sit down to café style food, paid for in local currency. On some trains there is now a shower facility available in the ‘special services’ wagon’ for an additional cost. The cost is approx: USD $5 and you will need to provide your own toiletries, towel and shower shoes are also recommended. However, do not count on this service being available on your journey.
All our programs are based on 2nd Class 4 berth compartments, though subject to availability, you can upgrade to a 1st Class 2-berth compartment if you want a bit more privacy. The only difference is that 1st Class has 2 people in a 2 berth, whilst 2nd Class has 4 people in a 4 berth (2 x bunk style banquettes) compartment. Aside from 1st Class wagons being closer to the restaurant wagon, there is almost no difference between 1st and 2nd Class compartments.
Despite the myth, neither 1st or 2nd Class wagons offer shower or en suite facilities. There is however a WC/wash basin at the end of every wagon and a 220v AC 2-pin razor socket. There is plenty of luggage space in the bins under the two lower berths and also in the deep and wide cavity above the cabin door. The cabin door can be locked by turning the door catch and pulling a metal catch out to the left of the door. Each cabin has a small table (with bottle opener underneath), a small fold-out ladder to help people to the upper berths and coat hangers and hooks to allow you to hang stuff up. Russians and Mongolians tend to make themselves at home with regards to luggage space, so a bit of juggling may be in order! It is a good idea to keep money, cameras and valuables on one’s person when the cabin is empty and luggage should be locked at all times.
Chinese and Mongolian Railways operate the service from Ulaan Baatar to Beijing in turn. Schedules on this route may change and it is possible the departure day will be different. Additionally, to cater for demand, the Mongolian and Chinese Railways may decide to schedule an additional service, bringing the total frequency of train departures from Ulaan Baatar to Beijing to a total of 2 per week. Please check current departure dates online at our website www.onthegotours.com. Please note that different departure dates could alter our featured pre-set itineraries slightly. Usually, this would entail an additional night or two in Mongolia.
Our journeys start in either Moscow or Beijing and end in either Moscow, Beijing or Vladivostok. Our Trans-Siberian adventures include all of the essential elements, with a choice of optional excursions, activities and upgrades, allowing you the option to tailor your adventure to suit your requirements and your budget.
We are able to offer two types of train travel along the Trans-Siberian route. Standard train and the luxury Golden Eagle Express. The Golden Eagle has 12 fabulous Gold and Silver twin/double private sleeper cabins, all with private en suite bathrooms and all the creature comforts you could wish for. With two luxury restaurant cars and chefs offering a range of culinary delights, this may just be the type of holiday you are looking for. See the Golden Eagle Express itinerary for further details.
For something a little different, why not take the train part of the way and fly the rest? See our tailor-made section for inspiration. From flying part of the way, to checking out the Gobi Desert or riding a Przewalski horse in Mongolia, these are just some of the options available to top off your holiday experience.
If you have something specific in mind, our experienced tailor-made team will be delighted to help design a holiday, bespoke to your own requirements.
Smoking is not permitted at any time in the cabins. In fact, smoking is only permitted in designated areas between cars. Doors from the main section of the cabins separate these areas.
If tucking in to a snack in the cabin - offer some around. Eating is a primary diversion and it's fun to make a social event of it! If sharing a mixed-sex cabin, it is polite to exit, if your cabin-mate needs to get changed. This particularly applies if sharing a cabin with a woman or women. It also affords the person trying to get changed more space in which to execute the task.
Confine your belongings to your bunk/luggage space and try to keep things as tidy as you can in the cabin. Remember, you're sharing this small space with others! Lastly, don't get left behind. Never stray far from the train at designated stops. Check the length of stop.