Trans-siberian trains



Life on the Train

The Trans-Siberian is not a journey specially arranged for tourists; it’s just a means of public transportation. You will spend your days in the train meeting new people, chatting, eating, playing games, reading and enjoying the changing landscape outside your window. You will be able to get off and stretch your legs at the train stations, where the train stops for 5-20 minutes. Getting to know the locals is guaranteed. You might find yourself drinking vodka with a Russian soldier, discussing politics with a Chinese academic or sharing a bottle of Russian champagne with a Mongolian businessman.

Types of trains and classes
You can choose between first (soft) class and second (hard) class.
A first-class compartment is shared by two passengers – there are two soft beds one above the other. A second- class compartment is shared by four (there’s quite plenty of space, comparing to European trains). There is a small table next to the window and enough space for luggage. There are bedcovers and pillows, and at the beginning of the journey, you get bedclothes. Each wagon is being kept in order by two conductors. They will make sure your journey passes smoothly, exit at every station and remind you to get on the train before it has left, and offer you hot water for coffee or tea.

Food

There is a restaurant on most trains, where both the staff and the menu change depending on the country the train is crossing, so the quality is difficult to predict. It is a good idea to bring along some supplies, but you will be able to buy very cheap, fresh and tasty food at the stops. You can buy everything: from a bottle of beer or water to home made boiled potatoes, eggs, cakes, chicken breast, vodka, smoked fish and fresh vegetables. The conductor also sells some not expensive snacks and drinks, so you won’t get hungry.

Hygiene, toilets and showers

Each carriage has its own stewardess who does the daily cleaning. At each end of the carriage there is a toilet with a WC and a small sink. Most of the times the toilets are quite dirty, so you’d better have liquid soap and soft wet pads with you. There are no showers in 2nd class carriages, showers are provided in every compartment only in the 1st class, train #3 and #4, and in a separate carriage in some trains for extra payment – about 150 rubli (about 5 EUR).

Season
The best time for the journey is from April to October. The winter is bitterly cold but, if you are not afraid of the frost, you’ll experience Siberia covered with snow. Only the locals travel in winter – there are virtually no tourists. And it is quite warm on the train.

 

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