Introduction to the Trans-Siberian Railway

Last modified 11.03.2022 | Published 20.05.20112010's, China, Mongolia, North and Central Europe, North, Central and East Asia, Russia, Travelogue

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This is an introduction to the Trans-Siberian railway, “the world’s longest train ride”. The Trans-Siberian railway links Moscow with Vladivostok on the Pacific and Beijing in China. We had chosen Beijing as the final destination and also the south-western route through Mongolia – the Trans-Mongolian train.

This article is no. 1/11 in a series from a journey in 2011 on the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, Mongolia and China. The text is a transcript of my diary at the time.


What we were embarking on

Our train journey spans four and a half days and 6,266 km from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar, then “only” about thirty hours down to Beijing over a distance of 1,355 km. In all we will travel by train 7,621 km. It is something like from Lindesnes to North Cape and back again, and back up to the Cape again. (As I’m Norwegian my references are as such also. A US reference would be from NY to LA and further on down to New Orleans.)

Our entire journey will take nearly three weeks, including spacious stays in the three capitals.


Map of stations and stops.

Map of stations and stops. Find details here.


The group and this story

In this trip we are a group of five friends, T, H, V, CJ, and myself.

We fly Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) all the way, not because we are a group of Scandinavians, but because our tour operator is, and has arranged the trip for us. We do however arrange our days in Moscow and on the train pretty much ourselves, but the stays in Ulaanbaatar and Beijing are guided.

This is my first online travel diary. The next time I will bring along my PC. The first part of the diary, that of Moscow, I started in my old moleskin paper book, but dropped it and subsequently typed it all on my smartphone. The remaining and major portions were dictated into audio files on the phone and typed after returning home. It all appears in the following, remaining largely unchanged as I first wrote or recorded it. The text is therefore my most authentic there-and-then experience in a typical oral form.

It has since been translated from Norwegian to English using a combination of Google and Bing translators and my own best efforts. A note on currencies: I wrote down the cost in Norwegian kroner (NOK) but have here converted that to US dollars (USD) at the rate of 5.5 NOK to 1 USD.


All chapters in this series


  1. This introduction
  2. NEXT: Some very interesting and pleasant days in Moscow. That city has certainly more to offer than we imagined.
  3. An excursion to a wonderful city in the Golden Ring and an evening in Moscow.
  4. A cruise on the Moskva River, the Gorky Park, the Kremlin and the departure for Siberia.
  5. The days on the train, four and a half days continuously on the move
  6. Mongolia: Well! Not bad to come to this country, some of the remotest imaginable of all inland countries. We first went into a national park.
  7. A day in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia
  8. The train journey continues from Ulaanbaatar to China
  9. The train into Beijing from the border to Mongolia
  10. First day in Beijing and a visit to the Great Wall
  11. The last days in Beijing and the return journey


The entries contain text, photos and video.

There are also 27 videos (about 90 minutes in total) from this journey, on my YouTube channel. You can also find them on my playlist links page.


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