The 7 Reasons to do the Trans-Siberian Railway

Author: waytorussia (on 14 Apr 2015)
A Trans-Siberian journey is a real event in Badiou sense of the word: meaning that there is the before and there is the after. Partially this has to do with spending 6 days on the train, which is an experience in itself, but there are also many other life-changing moments during that trip that you will remember forever:

1) You’ve done the most important and the longest travel route on the planet Earth, spending several days on the train going through Siberia – something to tell your grandchildren about.

A view from the Trans-Siberian train - photo by Boccacio1 @ FlickR

2) Your communication skills have dramatically improve! In just a few days you got to hang out with soldiers, professors, mothers, kids, prostitutes, scientists, workers, train conductors, interpreters, cops, writers, photographers, geologists – and literally any other possible type of human being one can imagine. You shared a small train compartment with them for several days and became their best friend for life. In case of nuclear war you now always have a secret hideout place in Siberia ran by your man Sergei. 

Sergei from the Trans-Siberian - photo by Paul Schoen -

3) You’ve seen Siberia with your own eyes and touched its soil with your own hands! You swam in Baikal lake and you’ve climbed the Altay mountains! You’ve passed the city where Khodorkovsky was imprisoned for 10 years (Chita, that is). You’ve reached the Russian Far East port of Vladivostok – the cemetery of old Soviet nuclear submarines and the gateway to the beautiful Pacific Ocean landscapes!

4) You’ve tried truly authentic home-made Russian food while on the train: offered by your fellow travelers and by the charming babushkas who sell their food on the platforms when the train stops.

A woman selling Pirozhki at the Trans-Siberian - photo by Paul Schoen -

5) You’ve been drinking Russian vodka on the Russian train for several days in the row and now can drink more of this fire water than anybody else you know. 

6) You will have had a unique opportunity to reflect and relax for a few days in a comfortable confinement of your train cabin (get the whole compartment if you really are looking for that experience). 

7) You’ve traveled a whole continent, more than 1/6 of the Earth's surface for €300 – has anyone else done the same?  

A view from the Trans-Siberian train - photo by Desmond Kavanagh @FlickR

There's something special about watching thousands of kilometers passing by, and observing ever-changing landscapes and views through the window of your train.

Despite all the books, games, and diaries you will have taken with you, most of the journey will be about getting back to the origins of life. You will eat and sleep all days through. You will feel the pleasure of pure biological life again. The philosophical question of what to eat first - either “pirozhki” (cakes) bought from an old lady at a station, or hard boiled eggs presented by your neighbor - will come at the foreground of your daily life. And this peculiar, magnificent, and expanding feeling of freedom when you are rushing to the platform to have a five-minute solid ground brake after the endless hours of life-on-board...


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