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Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway

Couple of years ago I discovered that my father's long-time dream had been to travel from Finland to Beijing, China by train. I hadn't actually paid much thought to the idea myself, but when I heard of my father's dream, I realised that it's something I definitely have to do too. It's the legendary Trans-Siberian railway after all. My mother didn't even consider going to such an exhausting trip with dad, and my wife told me that while she could imagine doing it at some point in her life, that point is not even close now. So, the logical outcome was that me and dad started planning the trip together.

We made the two-week trip last summer. I wanted to do the whole trip by train starting from my home town. It seemed (and still does!) more elegant than to fly to Moscow and take the train from there. And that's what we did. I wrote a blog in Finnish about the trip, and I guess I'll write more about the trip on this blog later, but meanwhile, here's a video in three parts I whipped up from the photo and video material of the trip.

Part one is mostly about the Russian part of the trip:

Part two, Mongolia:

Conclusion: China.


John Hoffman said...

Great videos. Now I want to go!

Divine said...

Thanks! You should!

Anonymous said...

im spending some time in mongolia next year, and im thinking ill take the train beijing to ulaanbataar, then on the way home ulaanbataar to moscow instead of flying. would you reccomend it? any suggestions on booking (agencies to go through, what sort of carriage to book etc) for the first time traveller?

Divine said...

I would definitely recommend traveling those legs by train. Naturally it's slower than flying, but it's an experience in itself, and definitely 'something else' if you haven't done much train traveling earlier.

I used a Finnish agency to book all the tickets (and accommodation) in advance. I've heard that Real Russia is a recommendable agency, but please note that I have no my own experience of them.

Booking in advance is recommendable if you have a tight schedule. Trains might be full if you try buying tickets at the stations, and you will possibly have to wait couple of days. But if you have time, getting the tickets straight from stations (Beijing, Ulaanbaatar) will probably become way cheaper than any agency.

I have experience of only 1st and 2nd class carriages. 1st class is two and 2nd class is four people in the same compartment. Then there are kind of 'dormitory' carriages where many people sleep in same room. The ticket prices vary a lot depending which class you take. Naturally 1st class is potentially more peaceful option.

Also buying a Trans-Siberian railway guidebook is probably a good idea for a first-timer.

Lord Hutton said...

Oh god I am so going to do that. Thank you for showing