Trip was taken as part of a sundowners package from 01/11 for 21 days as independent travellers instead of group travel, I can understand why this was a trip of a lifetime, we arrived in St Petersburg and really enjoyed the city, gives a good experience of Russia culture, you then have the overnight train to Moscow, if you planning to do this, it is worth hiring your hotel room for an additional half day in St Petersburg as the train is not departing until late, when you arrive in Moscow early morning, we were transferred to the hotel to freshen up, you the have a couple of days to see the sights before getting the 4 day train journey to Irkutsk, we had to get our own transfer to the station. We were given train 362 for this part of the journey as the original train had being cancelled, please note that this is a Russian passenger train and is poorer quality (no English at all, dirty toilets) to the normal number 4 train that is designed for tourists. When we arrived in Irkutsk we were greeted by Sergy (Rep) whom was very helpful, cheerful and attentive for our stay in Irkutsk and lake Baikal, he arranged all transfers and interpreted during the transfers and very knowledgable about history of Irkutsk and lake Baikal. On the fourth day, we were taken to Irkutsk for the onward journey, dropped off was mid day so again you had to busy yourself until the 10pm departure to Mongolia. We were aware that there was no restaurant carriage on the train so had to buy/ stock up with food for the next two days, we caught the 340 train to Mongolia, on the journey we met up and chatted to lots of other tourists which makes the holiday special, at the boarder crossing from Russia to Mongolia, we were the only carriage left on the track and it took 9 hours to get through customs and immigration, there was only 20 tourists on a train!, sniffer dogs, the works were undertaken which was in a way fun to watch.
Upon arrival at UB, were stayed in a Ger campment, in the national park, before moving onto a night in UB before going onto Beijing on the train 24, the trains were better quality than all the others with own sink in each compartment, all other trains had a shared toilet sink at the end of the carriage. we took a bowl to fill with hot water from the samovar and wash in own compartment. (we booked the compartments for sole usage)
The trains tended to be very warm (at about 30c which sometimes was overpowering), the Beijing train was cooler.
We really enjoyed the trans-Mongolian train journey but not until we reached Irkutsk as we had being put on a lesser quality train. We were then able to communicate with other tourists and enjoyed the better quality trains. A good point to make was the trans-Siberian train book was excellent as told a story of each station along the route, for you to follow and share with others. It also enabled you to gauge where you were on the journey and if on time from the timetables provided.
The stopover hotels were 2/3 star and were okay for not staying in for too long as we were there for the sights.
Pos the views of different cultures, scenery, the experience.
Negs put on standard Russian for 4 days of journey.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC