If you’ve accumulated enough wealth to journey on the world renowned Trans-Siberian highway, then you’ve chosen an adventure of a lifetime. It’s not the same as that dubious trek of a 2008 film “Trans Siberian” starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer and Kate Mara. If you’ve been inching to use those retirement money on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then consider going to China on this highway and see the place for yourself.

Many China tour packages include stops in the railway that will take your breath away. The route provides unforgettable scenery and adventures, than expose tourists to mayhem. The railway travels across Russia, connects Moscow with the Far East, crosses one-third of the globe, and showcases unique eco-systems, as it journeys through the Gobi Desert, the Ural Mountains and the grassy steppe of Mongolia.

Savvy Gao - Sites To See And Check Off Your Bucket List
Image by Savvy Gao via Flickr

There’s no better place to check-off items on your bucket list than along the Trans-Siberian Highway.

Must-see stops include:

  • Moscow – Vibrant history in the capital.
  • Vladimir – Small ancient city along the Golden Ring
  • Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky) – Fascinating industrial center of Volga region
  • Kirov – Small industrial northern city, centre of the Kirov region
  • Perm – Big industrial town at the start of Ural mountains. There are museums in the city and old prehistorical caves
  • Ekaterinberg – Most industrial region, but the city itself is unvarnished with buildings and sights. It’s also the location of the House of Special Purpose, the last location where Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra and their four daughters and son were imprisoned and killed.
  • Barabinsk – Great place to buy yummy homemade food from local elderly women. You’ll find baked potatoes, fresh veg, fish meat and desserts (but the train stays only 15 mins!)
  • Novosibirsk – Biggest Siberian city, founded in 1893; fetures a cultural and scientific centre, and a famous university. It’s a vacation destination for campers and hikers, too.
  • Taiga – In the evening, old women, called Babushkas, sell delicious homemade three-layer cake waffles and held together with a sweet milk spread.
  • Krasnoyarsk – The location of the Stolby national park, located just outside the city.
  • Ilanskaya – Must-see market at the train station, with eggs, fish, potatoes, sausages, tomatoes, ice cream, salted cucumbers, and other fresh and flavorful delights (only a 20 mins. stop here)
  • Nizhneudinsk – Beer and babushkas! The latter carry large bags, which they open to show what they’re selling. If you’re there in the warmer months, don’t forget mosquito repellent.
  • Irkutsk – Beautiful architecture highlights this stop
  • Baikalsk – Very popular ski and snowboard resort – lovely!
  • Ulan-Ude – The first stuff that introduces Asia to travellers. Lots to explore. Visit the Buddhist Datsan in Russia-Ivolginsky.
  • Chita – Big industrial region.
  • Khabarovsk – Cool location of a friendly Russian city on the Amur rivers, right next to China.
  • Ussuriysk – Must look out the windows – at fascinating red cliffs.
  • Vladivostok – Main Russian post, lots to look at and do, but travellers should be careful with their belongings.

In March 1890, Tsar Nicholas II began construction, in Vladivostok, on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Starting in Moscow, at Yaroslavsky Vokzal, the route runs to Vladivostok through Southern Siberia. Then, the China Easter Railway further connects with China. The Trans-Siberian Tours by www.thetranssiberiantravelcompany.com  is full of fun facts and what better way to know these than to choose from the many tour packages available.

  • It measures 9, 259 kilometres
  • It connects Mongolia, China and North Korea with Russia
  • Crosses seven time zones
  • Takes eight days for the complete journey
  • You need Visas, for Russia, China, Mongolia and Belarus
  • A one-way train ticket in a two-bed (considered first-class or luxury, as opposed to a four-bed, considered second class or compartment) sleeper is about 695 (GBP) – that’s for a six-night trip (inclusive Tours cost much more, but offer longer journeys, Tours, guides, and meals)
  • Buy tickets with or without services; the former gets you a light breakfast and a cooked dinner with beer (simpler, and requires no cash on the train)
  • Westerners prefer the pricier Rossiya train (TVs, comfortable beds, good lighting and loos)
  • When booking: lower train numbers (think two digit), signify quality; three-digit numbers are slower and low quality
  • Is the third-largest continuous service in the world
  • Gave a big boost to Siberian culture
  • During the peak migration years (1906 to 1914), about four million peasants arrived in Siberia
  • Around 30% of Russian imports travel the line
  • Carries 200,000 containers per year to Europe
  • In 2012’s “An Idiot Abroad,” Karl Pilkington travelled the length of the railway

The train makes regular stops, for crew changes or safety checks, and most stations feature food stalls, which offer delicious and more reasonably priced (than train) fare.