Things to Know Before Train Travel

The Trans-Siberia Railway is the longest rail line in the world, it includes but not limited to Trans-Siberia, Trans-Mongolia and Trans-Manchurian. One of the routes should be in the list of every soul traveler. Someone will take the journey from Beijing to Moscow, but some others may only take one part, between Ulaanbaatar and Beijing, or Ulaanbaatar to Moscow. We would like to offer some information to help passengers make some preparation. 

Food on Trans-Siberia Trains

There is a dining car on each train and decent food and drinks, but what kind of food will be offered? That depends on which country the train runs in. If the train is running in China, then Chinese food will be offered, then Mongolian style if in Mongolia, and the same situation in Russian. 

For international trains operated by Chinese Railway Corporation, running in China, two free meals will be offered and need to be used up in one day. The attendant will give each passenger two yellow meal vouchers, they are usually in yellow or sometimes pink, small and really in old style. 

Once the train is running in Mongolia and Russia, passengers can get food from dining car, if you are late to find a seat, then you can pack the food and eat in your cabin. Before boarding the train, you can buy some snacks or can buy some food from the platform vendors. 

One important is that the free boiling water is provided during the whole journey, so, passengers can take various items with you, such as tea, coffee and some instant food. In a word, the more varieties you take, the more food you have on your journey. Someone even take stewed pot. 

Currency Used on Train 

US dollar is acceptable but local currency is more convenient. For trains departs Beijing, the wheel of the train will be changed to a small gauge at Erenhot, which takes about 3 or more hours. Passengers can take your time to walk around the station, Mongolian Tugrik (MNT) can be exchanged at the small shops around the train station. 

If you don’t run out of MNT, you can exchange them to Russian Roubles again at the border cities, either at Shukhebato in Mongolia side or Naushki in Russia. Most the train stations in Russia have ATM, then it is very convenient to draw Russian Roubles. 

Toilet and Shower 

In 1st class deluxe carriages, two adjacent cabins share one toilet. There is a shower but don’t expect too much as the water on train is too weak to take a real bathe. For 1st class soft sleeper carriage and 2nd class hard sleeper cabins, one carriage has one washroom and toilet, no shower. Normally the toilet will be locked 5 minutes before the train stops at a station. 

Chargers and Internet 

European standard sockets are used on train, please consider whether you need to bring a adaptor. There is no Wi-Fi on the train, thus, online flow card is necessary, they are available online or at the train stations. 


Generally, the baggage allowance is no more than 35kg, but it is only a policy on paper and not strict at all. No double, dangerous and smuggled goods are prohibited on all trains. 

Time Zone 

During the whole Trans-Mongolia route, the train will pass by three countries, China, Mongolia and Russia. Beijing and Ulaanbaatar are in a similar time zone, but Russian is not. All train times are in local times, and the trains in Russian use Moscow time despite that it may pass 5 different time zones. 

Customs & Immigration 

When the train pass the borders of two countries, the customs and immigration is needed, but passengers do not need to get off from the train, you only need to wait in your cabin and the official of Exit & Entry Administration Bureau will get on board to check all the relevant paperworks. Sometimes, your passports will be taken away for inspection and stamped but surely will return to you before departure. 
- Last updated on Nov. 11, 2022 by Brenda Lian -
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