How to Decide which Route to Take on the Trans-Siberian Railway

There are a few ways to tailor the Trans-Siberian Railway trip to suite unique holiday experiences. Here’s how you can do the trip differently.

How to Decide which Route to Take on the Trans-Siberian Railway

Image by dchangalang via Flickr

The Trans-Siberian Railway is considered by many to be the trip of a lifetime. This is because it offers a once in a lifetime chance to see mystery and remoteness, as well as bustling capitals and heritage sites, all in one trip that is laid out across three countries and two continents.

In the days of old, these trains were meant only for the Russian elites, noblemen, and figures of the state who enjoyed luxurious expeditions; but having become somewhat of a popular adventure, this trip, along with all its comforts and extravagance has become available to anyone with a wild sense of adventure and a knack for saving money. So for those thinking of taking this once in a lifetime trip, here’s how you can go about doing it for yourself.

Start From Vladivostok

In 1905 completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway was accomplished to connect Vladivostok, Russia’s important Eastern coastal port to European Russia. As one of the favourite starting points of the railway line, the route runs from here to Moscow. This, plus the point that Vladivostok is home to one of Russia’s main airports make it an excellent starting point for travellers who have limited time. Trans-Siberian express tours and holidays by the Trans-Siberian Travel Company of your choice will often depart from here, but leaving from Vladivostok will not take you through all of the destinations, specifically those found down the Chinese Eastern Line, which will be behind you in your travels when leaving from Vladivostok to Moscow.

So if you would like your TSR trip to encompass all that you can experience, take a look at starting it from the other end of the line or from Beijing, China.

Begin your trip in Moscow

Moscow is the Western-most terminal of the Trans-Siberian Railway line which travels some 5800 miles to Vladivostok. It is the cultural, political, and economic capital of Russia, and what is more, it is the biggest city on the continent. So starting your trip from this end is a great idea if you first want to take some time soaking in the culture and local lifestyle before embarking on Trans-Siberian adventures in Moscow.

Leaving from St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a cultural treasure trove and serves as Russia’s main port on the Baltic Sea. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is home to ‘The Hermitage, which is one of the largest art museums in the world. Trains on the TSL now link to Moscow from here, which means that starting your trip from Saint Petersburg is a very practical way to go about it. The trip from here will conclude in either Vladivostok or Beijing in China, so even though it doesn’t follow the entire route, it is still epic enough to leave you feeling like a seasoned traveller at the end.

Depart from Beijing

Leaving from China’s capital is one of the most popular ways of starting the TSR trip because it allows for an all-encompassing experience. Beijing itself is a must see with sites like the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. For those who want to explore Asian culture before embarking on the Trans-Mongolian Line (which, as you can gather, runs through Mongolia) which terminates all the way over in Moscow. If one country isn’t quite enough and you want to get the full experience of the TSR trip, your journey should begin or end in Beijing.

Stops along the way

Throughout the trip on the TSR there are many stops for passengers to explore exotic locations, filled to the brim with cultural festivities, awe inspiring sites, and unforgettable experiences. Along the way, wide eyed travellers will get to explore Yekaterinburg, Russia’s capital of literature and performance. It hosts some of the region’s largest libraries and collections of theatres. Kazan, another stop, has come to be known as the sports-capital of Russia, hosting frequent international sporting events that you may just get to see if you go at the right time. Krasnoyarsk is considered to be the administrative centre of Russia, and even more excitingly, it is one of the country’s greatest producers of aluminium; it is also the hometown of legendary author Anton Chekov, which means it is a must see for any literature enthusiasts who want to explore the exceptional world of Russian literature.

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