If you are looking for an adventure to savour for the rest of your life, then you need to think somewhat epically. If the thought of hitting the hiking hotspots with hundreds of other travellers, fighting over the few remaining beds and battling to secure the cheapest flights fills you with a sense of dread on what should be a relaxing and educational trip, then fortunately there are alternatives. One of the most popular tours we offer in Russia is to ride the world famous Trans-Siberian Railway.
An enjoyable aspect for the solitary traveller is that accommodation on the trains is typically comprised of shared cabins. Friendships with people from all over the world can be struck up, while a kind word or two with the train attendants will ensure that if you disembark at a station, they will check you are back on the train before departing; an assurance that can make any journey more comfortable. If you make the excursion, this allows you to explore far more of Russia than just the cities of Moscow and Vladivostock.
For example, if you have the inclination, you can spend the time prior to the journey exploring parts of Europe that are a road less travelled. There are numerous flights between many outstanding European cities that may not be obvious names to a tourist, but are perfect for gap year exploration. Cities like Rennes, Salzburg, Alicante, Dubrovnik, Milan and Toulouse offer a gateway to parts of the continent that tourists don’t often see, yet which can prove as enchanting and rewarding as a trip to any major capital.
Having explored the continent to the full, you can head eastwards towards Moscow for the start of your Trans-Siberian Railway journey and a new experience. Your trip does not have to end in Vladivostock, however. The 9,000 km travelled means that you now are perfectly positioned to carry on your adventures, exploring the rugged beauty of the Kamchatka peninsula or perhaps heading off to explore the sights, sounds and undeniable beauty of Asia, or perhaps southwards towards Australasia.
You could head towards the superpowers of like Japan or spend time in China. One of the beauties of the Trans-Siberian journey is that when you finally climb off the train in Vladivostock, you are on the Far East’s doorstep. Of course, if you are a train fanatic then you could take a similar journey back towards Moscow. Head to Beijing and you can take the Trans-Mongolian train from Beijing back to Moscow, which takes in parts of China and Mongolia before heading back to Moscow across rural Russia. For the chance to appreciate the vast size of Russia and the rugged beauty of the region on a truly epic scale, there are few better ways to do this than by making a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway a focal point of your trip.
This journey on the famous railway, which stretches over 9,000 km from Moscow to Vladivostock, can be adapted to fit any itinerary. With the option to complete the trip in around six or seven days on a single train, you can also get off at any of the stops along the way. The stops enable you to visit places like Kirov, Yekaterinberg, Tyumen, Omsk, Irkutsk, while Ulan Ude in particular rewards the traveller with charming views and a chance to experience the myriad differences within this vast country.
The price you pay depends on how much of the Trans-Siberian Railway you want to experience and who you book with. Some international operators offer group tours and packages with an experienced guide.