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Home Travel Guide Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Transsiberian Tours

FAQ Transsiberian Tours

VISAS

What is the visa procedure? Are visas included?
 

INTERNET

Is internet available?
Are there any restrictions for usage?
 

YOUR PERSONAL COMFORT

What are the facilities on the train?
Are toilet facilities always available on the train?
Are there electrical sockets on the trains?
Are there showers on the train?
1st or 2nd class cabin?
Can I smoke on the train?
What can I do on the train?
What shall I bring on a train?
What is the best time to go?
 

LUGGAGE

Is porterage included?
Is there recommended size for bags?
Where can I leave my luggage in the train?
 

MEALS / FOOD

Are meals included on the train?
What will I eat on the train?
What will I eat in a ger camp in Mongolia?
Can I bring my own food?
 

SAFETY

Will I be safe?
Are there male / female only compartments?
What is the best way to safekeep while traveling?
 

TICKETS RESERVATION

Can I reserve / buy train tickets while in Russia, Mongolia or China?
Is it possible to do stopovers while traveling on a train?
 

MONEY

What is a suggested amount for daily use?
What are the accepted currencies?


VISAS

What is the visa procedure? Are visas included?
Yes, on all our standard tours we include the relevant visas in the tour price – Russian and Chinese. Once you book a tour we will email detailed guidance notes on how to complete the visa forms, we will check your application packs and submit your documents to the consulates.

If you are not resident in the US, we will issue official visa support and email the required documents to you. You will need to apply for your visas at the local consulates. Our visa team will always be available for assistance.

More about visas on our Trans-Siberian tours:


INTERNET

Is internet available?
Are there any restrictions for usage?
Please note, certain websites are blocked in China, it will not be possible to open social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Google and all related services (Youtube, etc.) do not work in China either. If you have a gmail account, please use an alternative e-mail address for correspondence.
 

YOUR PERSONAL COMFORT

What are the facilities on the train?
It is important to understand that you are NOT going on the Orient Express! You are going on working commuter trains that shuttle back and forth across the continent, taking all types of passengers.

Carriages usually contain nine compartments and are serviced by two attendants (conductors). Clean linen, including sheets, towels, blankets and pillows, are provided for each berth. Apart from the full bedding, the compartments have personal reading lights, space to store your luggage, a big window and a small table. There are facilities to provide hot water for drinks in every carriage and basic but adequate bathrooms are located at each end of every carriage. A bathroom contains a sink with running water and a western-style toilet (squat-style on some Chinese trains). Hot water is always available. The bathrooms are spacious enough to have a strip–wash if you wish. Read more about overnight trains.
 
Are toilet facilities always available on the train?
Russian trains are not all equipped with bio-toilets, and as a result, some toilets discharge onto the track. For that reason, before and after any stops, border crossings or along any densely populated urban areas along the line, the toilets will be locked for about 15 minutes before arriving at stations and about 15 minutes after departure, a timetable for toilet closures is usually posted on the toilet door. Toilets closure is applicable for non-bio toilets only.

Usage of toilets on border crossings. Please note there is a long wait on border crossings and toilets will be closed. On Russian-Mongolian border control, you’ll have a chance to get off the train and use toilets at the station. During the border crossing between China and Mongolia, the train is actually taken away from the station platform and the wheels are changed. Remember, the procedure takes a couple of hours and you will not be allowed to get off the train and use toilet facilities.
 
Are there electrical sockets on the trains?
Yes, European 2-pin electrical sockets are available. These can be located either in your compartment or in the corridor. You may wish to bring an extension lead to connect all your appliances in the compartment and not in the passage. 
 
Are there showers on the train?
Most trains do not have shower facilities and you should expect to go without showers on all train sectors. We advise you to take wet tissues to make your journey more comfortable.

There are shower facilities on 1st class train between Ulan-Bator and Beijing (train 24, K23). The shower is shared between two compartments.
 
1st or 2nd class cabin?
All our programs are based on 2nd class 4 berths mixed sex cabins, though an optional upgrade to 1st Class 2 berth travel is possible. There is little difference between 1st and 2nd class other than the number of berths contained in the cabins and a slightly greater amount of space in a 1st class cabin. As a result there are also less people in a 1st class carriage Can I smoke on the train?
Smoking is not permitted at any time in the cabins, however, you can always smoke in the designated separated areas between the carriages.
 
What can I do on the train?
When you get into a little routine on your journey and meet other travelers in your cabin and carriage, you will be amazed by how quickly the time passes. If you want to sit and do nothing, there will be up to 7 days to do as little as you want. You also have the options of reading yourself blind, writing, learning Russian, conversing with any number of people, playing cards or chess, drinking tea, getting off at station stops and taking photos, eating all you want, watching the scenery slip by, or the Russian favorite – drinking good Russian vodka!
 
What shall I bring on a train?
In addition to your daily clothes, you will need the following: What is the best time to go?
The journey can be undertaken year-round. In winter (December through April), views of the snowy Russian countryside from warm train compartments evoke scenes seen in many movies and city museum slack crowds. The spring period from May till June is the great time to travel – really the best combination of weather throughout the trip. You get the spring greenery and flowers and find the locals in an upbeat mood after the long winter. The climate is great for sightseeing and the crowds are yet to fully arrive. The summer months of July through mid September are more conducive to those interested in outdoor activities. Autumn (mid September – November) is often a surprise. The weather can be hard to predict, as Russian autumn weather barely exists - it’s just a quick change into winter. Russia can experience fine weather until the end of September, summer crowds are dispersing and snow starts falling usually by mid November.
 

LUGGAGE

Is porterage included?
Porterage is not included in the price of your tour / train ticket fare. You can arrange porters directly at the train stations where they are readily available. Prices depend on the city and vary from $3 to $5 per one bag.
 
Is there recommended size for bags?
There are different modifications of carriages used on Trans-Mongolian railway and we cannot give exact measurements for the storage space. Generally train cabins have a sufficient amount of storage space for your luggage and you will be able to accommodate your standard suite cases or backpacks. Please do not take oversized suite cases. You might also have difficulties in accommodating your baggage in your compartment if you have two or more big suite cases.
 
Where can I leave my luggage in the train?
The 2 bottom bunks can be lifted up to provide access to storage compartments. In addition, there is storage space near the ceiling for additional luggage. It is better if you keep your money, cameras, electronics, etc. on your person when the cabin is empty, and luggage should be locked at all times.

Please remember that each passenger may take luggage weighing up to 36 kg in a 2nd class cabin and up to 50 kg in a 1st class cabin. However usually nobody weighs your baggage, so don’t worry if your luggage weighs 2-3 kg more. Personal items such as purses, briefcases, laptop computers, baby items (strollers, diaper bags and car seats) are not included in this limit. The size of your hand luggage must be up to 180 cm if you sum up all three dimensions.

If you have some heavy bags please check their weight at the information desk. In case your baggage weighs more than 36 or 50 kg you will have to put it into the baggage car.
 

MEALS / FOOD

Are meals included on the train?
On our standard tours no meal is included during your train journey. You can either use a dining car or buy your own food from local shops, platform vendors.

You can now order meals to your compartment on domestic trains in Russia. Please ask the train attendant which meals will be served during your journey. Prices vary from $5 to $8 per meal. 
 
What will I eat on the train?
The majority of trains along the Trans-Siberian / Trans-Mongolian route have a dining car (please note there is no dining car in train 362 between Irkutsk and Ulan-Bator). The service is provided by whichever country you are crossing, and the menu changes accordingly.

Typical meals in Russia include ham and eggs for breakfast, schnitzel and potatoes for lunch or dinner with soups and salads for starters. The buffet also sells beer, Russian champagne, vodka, chocolate and snacks. The Mongolian buffet will mostly offer rice and mutton. The Chinese buffet will offer Chinese noodles or rice. The food is café quality with reasonable prices.

Meals, snacks and drinks are available all day and into the evening, with waitress service and take-away option available.

For most travelers, the dining car becomes the center of life on board. Apart from the food it is the place to socialize between meals, meet other travelers and practice your language skills.
 
What will I eat in a ger camp in Mongolia?
You will eat traditional Mongolian food. As an example: starters: carrot and cucumber salad, vegetable salad, vegetable soup with beef or mutton, noodle soup; main course: goulash, steamed or fried dumplings; desert: fruit cocktail, cake.
 
Can I bring my own food?
Yes, absolutely, you are allowed to bring your own food, snacks and beverages. There is always hot boiled water in the carriage and you can easily prepare instant beverages, soups, noodles, etc.

Moreover you can buy a lot of local food from the many vendors on station platforms when the train stops. You will be surprised with the variety and good quality of the homemade starters and snacks, including the famous Russian pirogi and pickled cucumbers. But please, remember that there are no refrigerators on the train.
 

SAFETY

Will I be safe?
Yes, although as with travel anywhere, common sense is your best protection. Don’t leave valuables unattended and keep your passport and money on your person. Cabins can be locked from the inside and attendants do keep a very close eye on what is happening in their wagon. You can keep your luggage either in an overhead luggage storage area, or under the bench. It is more secure to keep it under your bench. In case you are a woman who travels alone and you share the same compartments with 3 men and feel yourself uncomfortable you can ask attendants if they can transfer you to another compartment. As a result, trains are one of the safest means of travel within Russia, Mongolia and China.
 
Are there male / female only compartments?
All our programs are based on 2nd class 4 berths mixed sex cabins. On some trains it is possible to order cabins for travelers of the same sex, but the price is likely to be more expensive. Please advise us upon your booking if you prefer the same sex compartment. Please note we will do our best to accommodate your request but we cannot guarantee this.
 
What is the best way to safekeep while traveling?
Please carry a small amount of cash and a copy of your ID with you all the time. It’s better to use your debit or credit card instead of bringing large sums of money. Keep your wallet in your front pocket or use a money belt. You can lock your valuables in a deposit box in your hotel room as well as in the main hotel safe. Be aware of your surroundings. Look around when walking and avoid dark unlit areas. Look at the map before you leave your hotel so that you know where you’re going and how to get there.
 

TICKETS RESERVATION

Can I reserve / buy train tickets while in Russia, Mongolia or China?
Yes, you can buy tickets however it is not possible to reserve your tickets and pay later. You will need to present your passport or ID to the cashier as your name, seat number and passport / ID number should be printed on your travel document. Please remember that cashiers do not normally speak English.

We advise to book your train tickets well in advance as demand is very high especially during high season and for popular routes. Go Russia can assist you with train tickets purchase.
 
Is it possible to do stopovers while traveling on a train?
Yes, it is possible but you should buy separate tickets for each part of your trip. The tickets are sold for a certain date, for a certain person, to a certain place. So you it is not possible to buy an open-date ticket. We recommend you plan your rail journey well in advance and purchase all your tickets before setting off for your trip. If it is not possible, you can wait till you get to your first destination and then try to buy your ticket there.
 

MONEY

What is a suggested amount for daily use?
The prices will vary depending on the places you visit and your personal preferences and travel style. The amount of money which you spend on a train will be obviously lower than in a city. But we would advise you to budget about $15-$25 per person for daily use.
 
What are the accepted currencies?
Please remember that you will have to pay for everything in local currency. The official currency of Russia is the Russian rouble, Mongolia – tugrik, China – yuan. We advise you to take US dollars or euros and change them in a country of your stay. US dollars can be accepted in China in souvenir shops but not everywhere. Alternatively you can use your card to withdraw cash from ATMs which are available in big cities. Please note, it might be more difficult to exchange other currencies (eg. British pounds, Swiss francs, etc).

US dollars or euros are normally accepted on international Chinese and Mongolian trains (they might also accept Russian roubles on a train between Mongolia and Russia, please ask the restaurant staff). In Mongolia if you buy from small vendors (mostly souvenir shops) you can also pay with Russian roubles, US dollars or euros.