There are always last minute questions before setting off on a new adventure. That is why we have asked our tour leaders to answer the most frequently asked questions among travellers, to help you prepare for this trip! Remember these are the fundamentals tips you should know before travelling the Trans-Siberian route with our agency – The Wanderlust!
What happens if I miss my flight to Kathmandu?
We will only stay one night in Moscow, but our train leaves late at night on the second night of the programme, so you can always catch a next flight to join the rest of the group before the start of the Transiberian journey!
Are any members of the group on the same flight as me?
We always try to suggest the same flights to reconcile group arrivals, however, as each traveler is responsible for their flight bookings, it may happen that you arrive on a different flight. No worries though, you will meet the rest of the group as soon as you arrive at the hotel.
Will I be given my tour leaders contact before travelling?
Before the start of the trip, your tour leader will contact all group members by email. Usually we also create a WhatsApp group (if you agree too), so everyone can share their expectations or any questions one might have, and also it gets easier to know each other better before travelling together!
How will I know where to meet with the rest of the group?
Before you travel to Moscow, we will provide you the full address as well as direction and best ways to reach your hotel from the airport to our hotel, where you will join the rest of the group.
When should I arrive to the destination where our tour starts?
We recommend you to arrive in Moscow on the first day of the programme, preferably during the morning, so you can enjoy the first day of this trip to get to know this city better!
How big is my group?
We travel in small groups, between five and 12 travellers, plus your tour leader.
What kind of luggage shall I bring?
Please, do not travel with trolleys! We strongly recommend you to pack two backpacks: a large one (35 to 50l), and a smaller one (15 to 20l). As soon as the tour is confirmed, we will send you a personalised e-book with all the tips and tricks for this specific tour, suggesting you on what to pack, what to bring, health and local tips, etc.
How do I know what do I do on my spare time? What if I get lost?
Whenever there is free time, we provide you with suggested activitie. In case you would like to do something that is not planned nor suggested, you can ask for advice from your tour leader. We always recommend you to buy a local SIM card with data, to keep in touch with the rest of the group and your tour leader via WhatsApp. If you can not contact by message or call, you will always have the address of the accommodation as well as the local contact of your tour leader.
How can I get my laundry done?
In every city you will find inexpensive express laundry facilities, with same day washing / drying services.
Shall I bring cash or card?
For this kind of journey we recommend a prepaid card, such as Revolut. This will always provide you with the best conversion rate, and often you will also be able to make card payments. Because we have to deal with three different currencies along the trip, the card is the most useful way to control your expenses and to always have available money in local currency as well.
In case you prefer to bring cash, you should bring euros or US dollars, and exchange the money in the local exchange stores.
What kind of travellers will be on my tour?
All our travellers share the passion for travelling and exploring! In this specific tour, travellers have a spirit of adventure, of cultural interest, and like to be challenged. Good is usually a common characteristic of our travellers as well!
How is the food?
Food palates is one of the most diverse things you will come across on this epic tour. Get ready for a true gastronomic journey along this itinerary! We will taste several local delicacies, from the popular borscht (beetroot soup) to the famous Peking Duck, as well as many other local dishes and delicassies.
Traditional Mongolian food is more based on meats and dairy, so for our short Mongolian tour, we will have a private cook travelling with us, making it easier to adapt meals to our habits. This way, we still taste the local flavours, but guarantee a balanced diet!
I have a special diet / allergy / intolerance, what will I eat?
It is important to let your tour leader know in advance if you have any restrictions or allergies in your diet. We always do our best to accommodate all travellers as best as possible, so the sooner we know, the better we can help you.
What is my tour leaders role during the tour?
Before you arrive, your leader will already be at the destination waiting for you, making sure everything is ready for the great adventure awaiting! During the trip, your tour leader will always be available to assist you during the trip, to get you to meet people and local habits, organising activities and accompanying you during the tour.
Each programme is bespoke, and designed by the tour leader based on her experiences in the country. Sometimes, the programme can be adapted last minute, due to unforeseen events that may occur during it, and your tour leader is key to these occurrences, making sure everything runs smoothly!
Related: The Tour Leader Role
Should I tell if I have any physical restrictions or any chronicle diseases?
Yes, it is essential that you let us know in a timely manner of any physical restrictions, medical care, special diets or other inconveniences you may have, that could affect your comfort and well-being while traveling, as well as the groups. We will do everything so that these conditions won’t be an issue during our travel, adapting (when necessary) so that you and the rest of the group enjoy this trip to the max!
How long will we be on the road?
The whole trip lasts 22 days, of which eight are spent in the Transiberian (seven nights). The longest journey will be the first leg: three nights in a row on the train – No worries though, as there will be a few stops that allow us to leave the train and explore a bit of the local towns!
Also, we will have a 3-day tour around Mongolia by jeep, as well as and two more days driving to and from Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal (aprox. 6h, each leg).
What is included on the price?
All accommodation (some also include breakfast), as well as all activities mentioned in the program, plus all train tickets, private jeeps in Mongolia, driver, cook and local guide in Mongolia, cultural shows in Mongolia, mini-bus and ferry to and from Olkhon Island, jeep and traditional lunch on Olkhon Island, subway trips in Moscow and Beijing, entrance to the Great Wall of China.
The traditional banya in Siberia (sauna – 30€) and cable car to the Great Wall of China (15€, or free if you ‘d rather walk) are optional, as well as any activities not mentioned in the program. Local transports and taxis, extra meals, souvenirs, communications or tips are not included either.
Will I need visas for this trip? How can I get them?
Visa rules vary by country, but yes, for most nationalities will be required a visa.
Best thing is to contact the local embassy or consulate for each country (Russia, Mongolia and China) in your home country, as soon as possible.
How is the accommodation?
Just like this journey, accommodations are quite varied as well: from comfortable hotels, gers (the Mongolian yurts), hostel, guesthouse and of course, the train compartments.
The rooms are usually in twin or triple configuration, with the exception of the hostel (wooden capsule beds), the gers (we accommodate up to six people per ger) and the train cabin, which are private compartments with four beds each.
The single supplement applies only to hotels, guesthouse and hostel, always depending on availability and occupancy. In the gers and the train, you will share the space with your fellow travellers.
Do they have private bathrooms?
All hotels have private bathrooms. The remaining accommodations have shared facilities.
In Olkhon Island, the bathrooms are outside.
On our Mongolian tour, we spend one of the nights with a local family – most likely you’ll have a squat toilet outside, and not a traditional bathroom.
What shall I bring?
On this particular tour there ar no specific requirements: pack up light and comfortable clothes, suitable for the temperatures you will find for that time of the year.
A notebook for your travel notes, batteries for your camera, an extension lead to charge up multiple devices at once, a fast-drying towel, chronicle meds plus a basic traveller’s pharmacy, and of course, good mood and spirit of adventure!
I will be travelling solo, but I didn’t book the single supplement. Who am I sharing my room with?
We neves require our solo travellers to book the single supplement! We group our travellers in twin or triple rooms, so you will always be sharing your room with other members of the group.
Shall I tip my guides and drivers?
Yes, we cover all expenses, but we definitely recommend you to tip for services you are pleased with.
What if I want to stay longer after the tour is over, where shall I go?
If you want to stay in China, there are many interesting sites near Beijing: Datong and Pingyao are two small towns with lots to see, for example. If you want to enjoy your 30-day visa to the fullest, extend your visit to other places as well: Xian, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Lijiang, or of course, Tibet!
If you are more into eccentric travelling and you want to take this train trip to the limit, why not continue your journey by rail, all the way to Dandong, crossing the border to North Korea, all the way to Pyongyang?
What are the temperatures like?
If you are travelling between June and August, you will most likely encounter very high temperatures, possibly some heavy showers and wind.
Between April and May, or September and October, temperatures are cooler, slightly chilly in Mongolia.
What is the train where we are going?
We will be doing five rail journeys always on different trains – you’ll see different bars / cuisines, compartments and even different “nationality” trains. We always travel in 2nd class, we will always have bar and restaurant on board.
How are the meals on the train?
At the restaurant you will be able to find a different range of meals: breakfasts, snacks, main dishes, soups and sandwiches. You will also find a variety of drinks, from juices, beers and vodkas, coffee and tea.
In each carriage, the provodnitsa (the carriage lady) will also have for sale instant foods and drinks: soups, oatmeal, noodles, coffee, tea. There is always water available for free (filtered water to drink and boiled water for teas and instant meals).
Who will I share my cabin with?
The kupes (cabins) have four beds each, and we always try our best to accommodate our travellers together in the same kupe. However, sometimes we do not travel in multiples of four, and it may happen you’ll have other travellers in the same cabin with you.
We also try to group all our travellers in the same carriage, but bare in mind it depends on the trains occupancy and availability.
Do accommodations provide clean bed-sheets, or shall I bring my sleeping bag?
All accommodations provide clean bed-sheets at no additional cost to you, including the train beds. However, we do recommend that you bring a sleeping bed linen-sheet, as in Mongolia you may have to use a sleeping bag for the nights in the gers. We will provide the sleeping bag for you at no extra cost, so you do not have to pack it nor worry about it!
Find out more The Wanderlust tours here!