The Trans-Siberian train with one’s own motorbike

The Trans-Siberian train

Travelling in the Trans-Siberian train has been on our wish list for a very long time. We had this romantic idea of a long train journey, where the most remarkable stories of romance and intrigue could happen. We imagined trains with luxurious carriages, whose cabins were made of wood, quilted in velvet and with exquisite, old-style furniture… We had built this idea while reading Agatha Christy’s Murder on the Orient Express. Of course, the Orient Express (that connects Paris to Istanbul) is not the Trans-Siberian, but since they started running on more or less the same time (beginning of the 20th century), we guessed they looked similar.

Nowadays, it is still possible to experience such an old-styled train. All you need to do is buy a (very expensive) ticket with one of the private trains that run the Trans-Siberian rail trail (such as the Tsar’s Gold, the Imperial Russia or the Golden Eagle). If you cannot afford the trip with the private trains, you can take the regular ones, but forget about luxury and steam locomotives. Our experience was with a regular public train, and we found many good things in the experience…

WEB_IMG_8731

Why Taking the Trans-Siberian Train

The Trans-Siberian is the longest train journey in the world, which means that you can ride for almost 10,000 kilometres on the same train, without having to change to another train, not even once. The Trans-Siberian train connects Moscow to Vladivostok, a distance of 9,289 kilometres, in six days and four hours. If your plan is to never quit the train, you can buy a Moscow-Vladivostok ticket and in less than seven days you arrive at your final destination. But why would you do that? There are a few reasons why you should do this, some more reasonable than others. Reason number one is that you would like to tick it out of your wish list. In this case, be prepared to be stared at by locals, who see no reason why anyone would embark on such a tiring and somehow tiresome trip for such a foolish reason. The other two reasons are more pragmatic: either you are afraid of flying or, like a few families we met on the train, you cannot afford a plane ticket.

The Different Stops During the Journey

WEB_IMG_8783

The idea of travelling on the Trans-Siberian train is to have the opportunity to make several stops throughout Siberia. Pick up the cities that you would like to visit and get short-distance tickets. With this option, you will have shorter train trips (though ‘short’ gets a different meaning in Russia – the biggest country in the world!). Let’s say that you are leaving from Moscow and would like to make four stops (Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Khabarovsk) before you arrive in Vladivostok:

  • Moscow-Yekaterinburg
  • Yekaterinburg-Novosibirsk
  • Novosibirsk-Irkutsk
  • Irkutsk-Khabarovsk
  • Khabarovsk-Vladivostok

WEB_IMG_8857

You can purchase the different tickets (in this case five different tickets) in Moscow, but remember that if you buy your tickets beforehand, you will have to choose the precise dates of your tickets and need to stick to them.

Our advice is to buy your tickets along your route (the trains run daily), so you can decide how many days you want to stay in each city during the trip. This plan won’t work if you want to travel in the high season (July and August), in which case, it is advisable to plan and buy your tickets beforehand, as some legs of the journey tend to sell out. We bought our tickets two days before departure in July and did not manage to get places together (