The Trains-Mongolian Railway – My Idea of a Grand Adventure
It’s long been my dream to ride the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian Railway. The Trans-Mongolian railway is a six day epic rail adventure from Beijing to Moscow (or vice versa). Traversing one third of the globe and making it’s way from China through Mongolia and onto Russia sure sounds like a grand adventure to me.
Six straight days (and nights) on a train, you say? Now, it doesn’t sound terribly appealing when you put it like that but think of it in segments. Don’t do it all in one go. Hop off and explore as you make your way across Asia and onto Europe.
Start in Beijing spending a few pre-train days gobbling up plenty of wonderful food, walking The Great Wall and visiting the Forbidden City. Hop off at Ulaan Baatar, get out onto the grassy steppe and sleep in a ger with a nomadic family. Break up the journey across Mother Russia with stops in the Siberian town of Irkutsk and the world’s oldest and deepest lake, Lake Baikal, before arriving in Moscow.
Tickets run about £500 per person for the entire trip. Sounds expensive right? Think about the train as a rolling budget hotel. Not only are you paying for transport but you’re also getting a bed for the night. Access to food on board is pretty limited. From what I’ve read, dining car food is nothing to write home about but delicious snacks can be bought on the platform when the train pulls into a station. Failing that, with hot water available on board, many passengers look to pot noodles, cuppa soups, hot chocolate sachets and snacks to get them through the journey – eliminating the need for restaurants will cut back your food expenses.
In the case of the Trans-Siberian, the saying “it’s not the destination but the journey” really holds true. What makes this train special is the awe-inspiring journey itself. The sheer scale of the route, the wondrous feat of engineering, the brilliantly diverse landscapes – that’s what makes the Trans-Siberian a grand adventure.
So what are you waiting for? I’m keen… who else is on board for a grand adventure???
Cover image: Train Stop by AaverageJoe on Flickr used under creative commons license.