trans-siberian pastimes

trans siberian railway russiaThe Trans-Siberian Railway is hailed as one of the great train journeys of the world and Tina Gerets understands why it attracts thousands of enthusiasts every year…

“For some people the thought of spending close to 100 hours in a confined space is daunting. But having done the ‘Trans Sib’ (as it is affectionately known) 7 times already, I can assure you this is not a reason to stay at home. In fact, the 3-night journey between Ulan Ude and Kungur seems to fly by, and that’s Intrepid’s longest stretch on the train. I would plan to update my journal or catch up on sleep and reading, but that never happened because I simply didn’t have time!

At stops there are babushkas (a name for older local women that actually means grandmother) selling home-cooked food like pirozhki (pies), vareniki (dumplings), chicken, potatoes, smoked fish etc. They also sell fruit, freshly plucked berries of all kinds, and ice cream of course, a steady factor in the Russian diet. Going out onto the platform and looking for food is like a game. The most hardened traveller will squeal like an excited child when he/she has found something delicious.

If you do feel the need to break the on-board journey, you can go to the dining car. The food is usually average and a little overpriced, but here you are bound to meet the most friendly locals, who will (try to) persuade you to indulge in a vodka drinking session with them.

A group of English speaking travellers usually attracts the attention of the local kids and adults, who often join us for a sign-language conversation, spontaneous English and Russian lessons or a game of cards.

So, if you want to brush up your card playing skills, meet new friends, enjoy new and delicious things to eat, or just hang out, the iconic Trans Sib journey is waiting for you!”

Tour Russia with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Tracks to Russia – 18 days
Trans-Siberian and Mongolia – 21 days

To find out more about travelling with Intrepid and for your chance to WIN a trip in every edition, subscribe to Intrepid Express, our free e-newsletter. Plus you can become a fan of our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

* photo by Jacqueline Roesler – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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A wonderful trip, Moscow through Mongolia to Bejing. Getting thrown off the train for 3 days at the Russian Mongolian border because the train was late and our visas were a few hours out of date. It is a con from start to finish. Several people a week get ‘done’ Very traumatic at the time but now a great experience and laugh we will never forget. This little chap at the border town gets your paper work in order, puts you up in his house ( about no star or minus stars ) for the duration, beautiful meals done by his wife ( 5 star plus ), and there is no doubt everyone is getting a cut, from the border checkers, railway people etc. Cost $1500 Australian to get it all done. Other choice was to get a ticket back to Moscow and try to sort it out there. Had 4 days at Irkursk and would like to go back again. Enjoyed Russia very much. River cruise St Petersburg to Moscow was up with the best we have done.
Travelling as a couple only.

Hi Samuel,
How exciting that you have a trip coming up soon! Yes, you’re going to need to be prepared for all seasons, so layered clothing is the answer. You’ll need t-shirts for China then long sleeves and a warm jacket as you travel west. Our trip notes will give you more good info about what to pack. It’s a great time of year to travel and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing journey!
Best wishes, Sue, Intrepid Express editor.'
Samuel Augustus Jennings / Reply

I am starting trip in Beijing September 4, 2011. What kind of weather can I expect? My Chinese accupuncturist told me today that Beijing is hot in the 90’s (farenheit) in September. The woman at the Russian visa office said Russia will be cold.'
Christine & Craig Nielsen / Reply

Did the Trans Mongolian in May with our leader Max……it was a really great trip and we loved it….Mongolia was inspiring and the train very comfortable….we also found the three days flew by and took the chance to disembark when possible to buy food on the platforms….the ger camp was a highlight as was the visit to the ger camp in Ulan Bataar…..we thought May was a great month to do the trip as the weather was good despite some snow and ice

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