Trans Siberian Railway | Yekaterinburg (1,814km)

Moscow (0km) -> Kazan (820km) -> Yekaterinburg (1,814km) -> Tomsk (3,664km) -> Irkutsk (5,185km) -> Ulaanbaatar (6,464km) -> Beijing (8,015km) -> Hong Kong (10,265km) 

*The km count is based on how far I am from since I started in Moscow, not the actual km marks on the Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian Railway. 
  • Moscow: Kremlin, Red Square, State History Museum, Izmailovo Market
  • Kazan: Kul Sharif Mosque, Kazan Kremlin, National Museum of the Republic State of Tatarstan, Bauman Street, Epiphany Bell Tower, Nizhny Kaban Lake
  • Yekaterinburg: the Europe and Asia border
  • Tomsk: Tomsk State University
  • Irkutsk: Listvyanka Dog Sledding, Lake Baikal via the Great Baikal Trail and the Circum Baikal Railway
  • Ulaanbaatar: Genghis Kahn Square, Winter Palace, National Museum of Mongolia, Gandan Monastery, Terelj National Park - Genghis Kahn Statue, Vultures, Camels, Traditonal Mongolia clothing, Turtle Rock, Lunch in a Yurt, horse riding, Ariyabal Meditation Temple
  • Beijing: Lama Temple, Forbidden Palace, Tiananmen Square, Great Wall of China, Old Summer Palace, China High Speed Train

March 22 (Tue) Kazan 820km - > Yekaterinburg 1814km

The train left at 2am. After checking my passport and ticket, the Provodnista led me to an empty room. Seems like I have the compartment to myself! Honestly right now I’m pretty tired, and just want some rest, so some alone time was really good. The train was older and mostly wooden. There was a family with a small kid travelling next to me and the father was kind enough to show me where the lights were and where to store my bag, even though he didn’t speak any English. I’m not sure why people think Russians are cold, they are actually extremely nice! 



The free meal that came with the overnight trains were a bag full of breakfast items and a small box with chicken fried rice and 2 pieces of bread. The breakfast bag includes a small bottle of water, a chocolate bar, a muffin, and a yoghurt. 

There’s still many hours to go until Yekaterinburg. This leg of the journey was almost 24hrs. A man entered cheerfully speaking to me in Russian but soon realized that he’s in the wrong compartment. 

The small towns we passed by were lovely with many wooden houses. In this station “САРАПУА” many people got off. There was a little girl waiting anxiously for her father and ran up to him into a big hug after he got off the train. As we approached the 4th largest city in Russia, I can feel industrialization and modernization take over as the traditional wooden houses soon became factories and tall concrete buildings. 

I had booked a female taxi driver to take me to the Europe and Asia border. She greeted me at my carriage holding up a sign with my name. She was a cheerful lady in her 50s, slightly on the chubby side. But nevertheless super friendly, and started explaining everything we were passing by even though I didn’t ask for it during m y booking. She didn’t speak a lot of English but was trying her best to introduce her hometown to me. Traffic was bad as it’s rush hour. I learned that FIFA 2018 is in Russia! It’s a beautiful country and I’m very happy for Russia. I can’t wait for everyone to see all the beautiful cities! 

One hour later we arrived at the Europe/Asia border. We got off and she helped me take some quick photos. 

It took just 30min to drive back to the city. I was nervous I’d miss my train, but I had 4hrs to spare. My driver suggested a café for me to grab some dinner at and waited for another hour. I got some friend rice and beans which was only about 200 rubles! And it was pretty delicious too. There were maybe 8 waiting halls and all of their charging stations were full with teenagers sat beside, waiting for their phones to charge. The display board in Yekaterinburg doesn't have any English on it. But I already familiarized myself with the Russian Alphabet so it wasn't a problem to figure out which platform my train departed from. 

My train is the 3rd row. Train #70, Moscow - Chita. The train is scheduled to arrive on time at 19:41 (Moscow Time) and will stop at Platform 2. It will then depart at 20:12. 

It was snowing hard before boarding again. I crossed over 2 tracks on foot and found my train. I showed my ticket and passport to the Provodnista and she showed me to my compartment. Again I had the entire room to myself! Next, it’s another long train to Taiga then a middle of the night transfer to go to Tomsk. 

I desperately needed a shower, and the toilet didn’t have running water. Thank god I brought mouth wash and wet wipes. 

I woke up coughing in the middle of the night again and finished my last drop of cough medicine. I had finished a 400 page book and caught up on my German homework. I resorted to start thinking of ideas on topics to write on this trip, and also read more of the lonely planet guidebook on the trans-Siberian. The next time I’ll have access to a English bookstore will be Mongolia. 

It was 1:30pm and I was starving but there was still no food. I opened a pack of instant noodles I had brought and it tasted dull, but enough to fill my stomach for now. At 3:30pm, the Provonista finally brought my food. One scoop of friend rice, one piece of chicken, and a bag filled with a muffin, one snack bar, one yoghurt, and a bottle of water. Looks like I’ll definitely have to stock up on food in Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar. 

The train rolled into Novosibirsk late night, and a couple in their 50s stumbled onto the train. They had airline tags on their bags so they must be taking an overnight train back home to their town. I slept a bit more until I was woken up by the banging doors and an anxious Provonista. I’m in Taiga now. 

It’s 3:30am in Taiga, I waited for another hour till my train for Tomsk arrived. I had a male train master this time. Another 1.5hours, the sun rose, and I’m in Tomsk. 

A hair wash is long overdue.

Next Stop: Tomsk, a small University town with lots of special wooden houses and one of the oldest town in Russia. It's not located on the main Trans Siberian railway line so you have to get off to transfer for a 1.30hr train. 

--------------------------- More photos from the Journey --------------------------


Yekaterinburg Station


  1. Hi Ariel, stumbled upon your post from a Google search, makes for interesting reading as I'm going on the Transiberian next week. Wanted to ask if you still have the contacts for the taxi driver you engaged in Yekaterinburg? I am thinking of engaging a local tour but the Asia Europe border doesn't seem all that far from town and I'd prefer a female driver. Also if you recall the associated charges that'd be great.

    Many thanks in advance!


    1. Oh goodness Diana, I'm so sorry I don't check my blog comment section that often. I hope you were able to find a good female driver. I had the details of that trip in another blog post here

      Anyhow, I hope you had a great trip!

  2. I did this trip in November 1993 from Hong Kong via Harbin - to St Petersburg.

    1. Wow! It must've been amazing and so different back in 1993!