Trans-Siberian Railway – Moscow to Irkutsk

Train 20, The Vostok, Beijing to Moscow, Trans Manchurian

78 hours 48 minutes
4 Nights 3 days
6 different time zones

After months of planning it was a great feeling to finally get on board this train and start heading from Moscow further East. We were using Train 20 to get to Irkutsk in Siberia, but it continued another two days until Beijing. This is no special tourist train as people tend to think, it’s a standard long distance public Russian train used mostly by Russians. Just happens to be one of the longest train journeys in the world.

Life on board the train was enjoyable and quite relaxed. We had chosen a 2nd Class cabin and it was much nicer and comfortable than I had expected. The carraige was quiet, the cabin was cosy and the toilet was cleanish.

Staying hydrated – on each carraige there is a water boiler providing 24 hours hot water keeping us happpy with tea and filled with instant noodles.

Between looking out the window, drinking tea, reading, sleeping and playing Hornochsen the time seemed to go by pretty quickly! We didn’t have a huge amount of food though, we prepared in Moscow with instant soups, noodles, nuts, fruits etc. But the instant stuff was difficult to look at already on the second day. Our breakfast consisted of bread slides with peanut butter and banana and instant coffee. We had been told a lot about “Babushkas” on the station platforms selling food and drinks, but we never really seen any of this. Stations we arrived at were usually empty with only train conductors and station personel.

The views as we travelled through Siberia were amazing. Since we’re travelling in Autumn, it was great to see the changes in landscapes with the the Autumn colours. The landscapes were generally barron and wild. Towns we travelled past seemed incredible remote and isolated with wooden houses and dirt roads. Others towns blended into hard industrial areas and cities such as Omsk.