Before you set off

Before you set off on a journey by train, it is extremely important to prepare for this genuinely specific journey. It is best to plan our journey for summer months, early autumn and spring are perfect, especially if you plan to go out to explore. If you want to visit only cities, you can set off on a journey any time of the year, in winter train tickets and hotel bookings will be even cheaper, due to less traffic. We advise you how to best prepare before the journey - these are our pieces of advice.

1. It is worth to equip yourself with travel guides and Russian, Mongolian and Chinese phrases.
2. In the territory of Russia for Polish citizens (and not only) visa is required. More information you can find here:
3. In the territory of Mongolia for Polish citizens (and not only) visa is required. More information you can find here:
4. In the territory of China for Polish citizens (and not only) visa is required. More information you can find here: The only exceptions are Hong Kong and Macao - in the territory of those cities there is a special visa-free zone in People's Republic of China.
5. Medical safeguards are very important. During the trail journey we are, among others, exposed to: food poisonings and burns. Do not forget to take with you the first aid kit. Put there: coal, cures for burns, antipyretics, painkillers, antidiarraheal drugs, medicines for cold, sore throat or medicines against motion sickness. It is worth to vaccinate against jaundice and tetanus. When going to Lake Baikal it is worth to vaccinate against tick-borne meningitis and encephalitis. When travelling over Mongolia it is advisable (however, it is not required) to vaccinate against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, typhoid, hepatitis type A and B. In Mongolia there is also a threat of contracting cholera, hepatitis type C, typhoid, ameboza, helminthiasis, rabies. The vaccination that is required on the border of China is the vaccination against yellow fever. Before visiting China it is worth to vaccinate against jaundice type A and B.
6. In big cities of Russia, China or the capital of Mongolia there is a possibility of using ATM and paying with credit card. it is best to equip yourself with cash, in currencies EUR and USD. In all three countries the most popular exchangeable currency is American dollar (USD). Let's pay attention to the quality of ATM machines, because if they are dirty or even slightly destroyed there can be a problem with changing dollars for the local currency. On the train do not forget to take coins and banknotes in the local currency.
7. If you go to the lake or in the area do not forget about:

  • a tent
  • a foam pad
  • a torch
  • warn, rain clothes
  • agents against mosquitoes and ticks or a decent mosquito net
  • a gas-jet (you can buy it in tourist shops, for example in Irkutsk (ATTENTION! you cannot transport the gas-jet in the plane!),
  • a compass.

  • 8. During the train travel remember to take a good photo camera. While travelling by train, electric sockets are in most cases in common toilets and the ticket inspector's compartment. Charging the batteries for mobile phones, photo-cameras or other equipment can be a difficult task. If you can, equip yourself with additional battery.
    9. Do not forget to take with you small gifts, for example from Poland (or other country) for your fellow passengers or for the hospitable Mongols. Trivia from your country are welcome, for kids - sweets, pens, markers and so on.
    10. It is worth using a calculator, you can always show on it the price or calculate the prices of products in other currency.
    11. Vegetarians should consider buying food necessary for their diet because for example in Mongolia outside of the capital or selected spots buying vegetables is simply impossible.

    The essentials of the Trans-Siberian traveller:
    A. the purchase of victuals, among others, hermetically packaged in cans, dried fruit, dried sausage, milk powder and so on;
    B. coffee, tea, sugar - boiling water is available on the train;
    C. a tin opener, a penknife, a corkscrew, a cup, a spoon, a fork;
    D. a plate or a cutting board;
    E. a towel, a cloth, handkerchiefs, towellettes;
    F. a shampoo to wash your hair dry, a soap or a shower gel, toilet paper;
    G. comfortable shoes and plastic slippers (wet floors in train toilets)
    H. garbage bag;
    I. sachet for valuables;
    J. books, magazines, MP3 or other, small equipment for listening to music;
    K. photo camera and map;
    L. a dictionary and phrases, a piece of paper and a pen;
    M. when travelling in winter - a window ice scraper;
    N. spare change