Travel Guide Asia Trans-Mongolian


The Trans-Mongolian is a train route, which has become the classic overland route from Europe to Asia, and is a favourite with backpackers, gap year students and Round the World travellers.



Trans-Mongolian (Trains No.003 and No.004)

Running through Russia, Mongolia and China, the Trans-Mongolian route is 7,622 kilometres long and runs through the Ural Mountains, Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the high steppe of Mongolia and passes through the Great Wall of China on its way to Beijing. This weekly service leaves Moscow (Train No.004) on every Tuesday heading east, while westbound train (No.003) leaves Beijing on every Wednesday. The journey on each direction takes six days.

The train ride from Moscow into the Urals is mostly Pine and Birch forests interrupted by industrial wastelands, and includes a crossing of the Volga river. As you climb into the Urals landscape changes to mostly forests and less industrial.

After leaving the Urals, you enter Siberian plains, forests, open grass plains and boggy, swampy areas. Approaching Irkutsk the land starts to get hillier heading up towards Lake Baikal. Baikal is a long, thin but very deep lake, holding one-fifth of the world's fresh water.

Heading down through Mongolia you get more grass plains. Looking out the window, travellers will likely see wild horses, and Mongolian nomads gers surrounded by small herds of cows and sheep. After Ulan Bator, you start to enter the Gobi desert. It's a rocky, sandy desert with tufts of dry grass. Horses, cows and sheep are still seen, but the occasional camel is added into the mix. The desert continues into China.

After Jining, the desert ends and you get into Chinese agriculture and mountains. Getting towards Beijing, travellers will get many chances to spy the Great Wall during the times when the train emerges from the long, dark stretches through tunnels.

As well as the through Moscow-Beijing trains, there is a separate weekly Moscow-Ulan Bator service (Trains No.005 and No.006). From Moscow, train No.006 departs every Friday, while the westbound train No.005 from Ulan Bator leaves every Wednesday. The journey from each direction takes five days.


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This is version 8. Last edited at 9:11 on Aug 14, 17 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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