Trans-Mongolian Railway from Moscow to Beijing
No railway line is surrounded by a similar myth as the Trans-Siberian Railway. The legendary railway connects Moscow with the Far East and crosses an entire continent. A more than a 9,000 kilometer long journey spanning 8 time zones passes the endless forests of the Siberian taiga and the remote steppes of Mongolia. While the original route ends in Vladivostok, an alternative route allows you to travel as far as Beijing.
On this Trans-Mongolian itinerary, you will discover 3 countries and two mega metropolises; Moscow and Beijing. You will also journey to Lake Baikal and through the Gobi Desert.
Travel Warning for Russia
Due to the political atmosphere in Russia and the unprovoked attacks in Ukraine, we do not recommend traveling to Russia. Please inform yourself in advance about possible entry restrictions. Stay healthy and safe travels.
Railwayhero does not take responsibility for any rail company or country’s decision to limit or refuse travel.
Rail Passes: –
Price Range: $$$
Recommended Days: 2-3 weeks
Riding Hours: Approx. 146 hrs
Distance: 6,906 km
Moscow: Russia’s Center Of Government
Moscow is the center of power and the cultural heart of Russia. In recent years the city has experienced a construction boom. Sparkling skyscrapers of glass and steel alternate with historic buildings in the historic city.
The Kremlin and the multicolored St. Basil’s Cathedral on the famous Red Square are well-known to everyone. Opposite, the huge Historical Museum, and the Lenin Mausoleum offer a glimpse into Russia’s past.
At the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre, you can admire the world-famous Russian ballet and then stroll through Gorky Park, see people relaxing and dancing.
Moscow Yaroslavsky Railway Station → Irkutsk | Duration: 85:35-87:41 h | Transfers: 0
There are two options on the regular train line to depart for your three-day journey toward Lake Baikal. Enjoy the passing scenery, read a good book, and don’t get too sick of your favorite card game.
Irkutsk: Lake Baikal
Irkutsk lies near the shores of Lake Baikal, one of the largest lakes in the world. The city is an important trans-shipment point between Russia and the Far East.
Irkutsk is famous for its numerous old wooden houses. In the hip 130th district you can admire many of the beautiful wooden buildings while strolling between bars, cafes, and restaurants. The city has two beautiful Orthodox churches: the Cathedral of Kazan and the Cathedral of Revelation.
For nature lovers, an excursion to Lake Baikal is worthwhile in every season and it truly a top destination on any Trans-Mongolian itinerary. The lake is home to numerous animal species, impressive scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities. If there is no interest in an organized excursion, the lakefront is best accessed by Listvyanka which is easily reached by car or bus.
Irkutsk → Ulan Bator | Duration: 22:37 h | Transfers: 0
There is only one option to heading to Mongolia’s capital but the train has plenty of amenities and options for sleeping compartments.
Ulan Bator: Remote Center Of Asia
Ulaanbaatar, formerly anglicized as Ulan Bator and sister city to Denver, Colorado, is home to half of the total Mongolian population. Once boasted as the world’s coldest capital, the inhabitants have kept themselves busy with breaking and now holding new world records. Such as the largest Mongolian wrestling tournament with 6,009 participants and most runners in a horse race with 4,249 runners.
In the city, the centrally located Süchbaatar Square is home to all the major buildings. The large Gandan Monastery is the most popular attraction and allows you to experience many centuries-old Buddhist ceremonies.
Ulan Bator is surrounded by beautiful forests and hills and the nearby Terelj National Park allows you to experience the rugged beauty of the Mongolian steppe up close.
Ulan Bator → Beijing | Duration: 30:57 h | Transfers: 0
There are two direct trains weekly to Beijing, on Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30am. You will want to make sure to plan accordingly.
Beijing: Culture And Tradition
The Chinese capital has an immense cultural heritage and plentiful attractions. The famous Tian’anmen Square is surrounded by sights in all directions: to the north is the mysterious Forbidden City, to the west the People’s Congress Hall, to the south the Mao Mausoleum and to the east the National Museum.
North of the Forbidden City, the Coal Hill offers a breathtaking view of the palace complex. Also, to the north of the city are the Confucius Temple, the Drum and Bell Tower, and the Palace of Harmony. The National Stadium – called the Bird’s Nest – symbolizes the economic and technical rise of the country.
Before you head home or to your next destination, make sure to visit the nearby part of the Great Wall of China!
Not ready to fly home yet? Check out other places to visit in China (click here)!
*Disclaimer: Due to the fluidity of transportation schedules, the information seen on RailwayHero may not be up to date at the time of readíng. Always double-check with the operator for the latest information.