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'

Hi Sandra,
Thanks for your query regarding airfares. International flights are not included in the trip prices, as we have travellers joining our small group adventures from around the world. Depending on where you live, our reservations team may be able to assist with airfares and please don’t hesitate to contact for more information.
Best wishes,
Sue, Intrepid Express Editor

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