Trans-Mongolian vs Trans-Siberian: how to decide


Getting your trains all tied up in knots? Confusing the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Trans-Mongolian?

Here’s a quick guide to getting your head around this phenomenal travel system…

The epic Trans-Siberian Railway transverses Siberia, linking Moscow in the west with Vladivostok in the east. It is just a section of the Russian railway network – but a very large and important section – ultimately connecting Europe with China.

The Trans-Mongolian Railway is a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Where the Trans-Siberian carries on east beyond Ulan-Ude through Russia, the Trans-Mongolian railway heads south at this point through Mongolia (of course!) to Beijing. It passes through the impressive Gobi Desert, whose undulating rocky dunes, bare-floor basins and dry expanses stretch out as far as the eye can see.

Whether you ride the Trans-Siberian east or the Trans-Mongolian south, press your nose against the window and stare out in awe at the passing landscape. If you’re journeying on the Trans-Mongolian, cross your fingers and hope you catch a glimpse of the rare Gobi bear as you pass through the Gobi Desert. Keep your eyes peeled for wolves, wild ass and gazelles too.

About the author'
Verity Russo - After cycling down the length of New Zealand, Verity is now on a mission to cycle down every country longer than it is wide. She dedicates more pannier space to books than a sensible person would permit and has been known to ditch food and clothing in an attempt to carry extra titles.

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Hi there,

I and a couple more friends are planning to visit Russia (We are from India). Can you guide me to what is the formality in getting a Russian visa (charges, documents, etc). Also whether a single visa covers the whole region or we have to apply for individual visas for the CIS countries.

Hi Rajesh,

Where are you travelling from? India? There are a few things to consider when it comes to RUssian visas.'
Sandra kitchen / Reply

Do your trips include the air fare in the price in the trip to get there. Could make a difference

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