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I'm planning a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express. I've already received excellent advice on a related post, but I've got a couple more questions.

My plan is to head from Moscow to Beijing. It's six solid days of train travel, and I'm looking to break up the trip with a few stops along the way.

  1. Any recommendations as to where?

  2. Since I'd like to travel in either a Spalniy or Kupe compartment, it appears that I would need to book well in advance. How can I best book my tickets if I plan to break my journey into three or four legs?

  3. Are there different visa requirements if I plan to stop off in, say, Mongolia for a few days, rather than making the trip in one stretch? (See also: What is the best way to obtain visas for the Trans-Siberian/Trans-Mongolian Railway?)

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Here we go again :) I'll provide answer soon. –  VMAtm Jul 11 '11 at 16:27
    
Thanks so much! –  The Travelling Chicken Jul 11 '11 at 16:28
    
Provided the answer, HTH. If there any questions left - you can ask them. –  VMAtm Jul 11 '11 at 18:16
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4 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Any recommendations as to where?

Firstly, you should choose the trains. For now, you have such options:

  1. Direct train 020Щ(sch) "Vostok" ("East")
    Moscow (departure at 23:55 PM every Saturday) - Beijing (arrival at l5:32 AM every Saturday), do not goes through Mongolia.
  2. Direct train 004З
    Moscow (departure at 21:35 PM every Tuesday) - Beijing ( arrival at 14:04 PM every Monday), goes through Mongolia.
  3. Direct Carriages from Novosibirsk, Irkutsk or Chita (schedule is on link above). In this case you can travel from Moscow to any of this cities, do some break there, and use the carriage ticket. If I were you, I chose the Novosibirsk to visit beautiful city or Irkutsk to visit Baikal lake.

Since I'd like to travel in either a Spalniy or Kupe compartment, it appears that I would need to book well in advance. How can I best book my tickets if I plan to break my journey into 3 or 4 legs?

You can book the tickets up to 60 days from your departure date. Also during your trip you can pause your ticket at any station (if your passport and visa allows this). In this situation your must get stamps on train or on station you got off from train. You can do this during 60 days from your departure date.

Also you can continue your ticket up to two times for 60 days, but this can be done only because illness or something more important.

Note that you will lose some part of ticket price in case of breaking your ticket - you'll have to buy new ticket part (not very expensive, however).

Are there different visa requirements if I plan to stop off in, say, Mongolia for a few days, rather than making the trip in one stretch? (See also: What is the best way to obtain visas for the trans-siberian/trans-mongolian railway?)

I think you should do the break on Russian territory, just because it is simpler to maintain.

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Great advice once again! Thanks so much! –  The Travelling Chicken Jul 18 '11 at 13:47
    
@Jen Good luck with that! –  VMAtm Jul 18 '11 at 15:57
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A couple of friends made the full trip from Moskow to Vladivostok some years ago. They stopped at least at Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk, possibly Novosibirsk as well.

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Thanks, I will check into these spots... –  The Travelling Chicken Jul 18 '11 at 13:48
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I did the Trans-Siberian a couple of years ago, I can definitely recommend Irkutsk and Ulan Bator (for the Beijing section), they are great cities and areas to stop and also very unique. Novosibirsk I found less interesting, there wasn't much to see or do, I would not stop there again. I heard good things about Tomsk, but you need to plan extra time, it's not on the main Trans-Siberia track, but 50km off. Other possible stops are Omsk and Yekaterinburg, but I have not stopped there.

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When I did the trip a few years back, I stopped in Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk (side trip to Baikal is definitely worthwhile), and Ulan Bator. Yekaterinburg is not a particular exciting city, but it provides a very nice (practically necessary) stop over. My general advice is to stop frequently enough that you don't spend more than 48 hours at a time on the train. You'll start to go a little nutty otherwise.

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Agree, one night in Yekaterinburg was fine, enough to walk around and see the river, city and so on. Baikal was amazing. –  Mark Mayo Aug 13 '13 at 23:49
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