Irkutsk | A Night Train To Irkutsk Russia
Ulaanbataar Mongolia to Irkutsk Russia On The Trans Siberian Railway
(We got in Trouble For Having Vodka On The Train)
Ulaanbaatar to Irkutsk
23 Hours – 1029 KM
The day dawned bright and warm on our last day in UB. We spent the morning visiting our favourite coffee shop and wandered down to Sukhbaater Square to see the festivities of Mother and Children’s day a celebration that was happening on that day.
We were sad to leave Ulaanbator we had very much enjoyed our time in the city and had been very pleasantly surprised at how much the city had to offer.
We were dropped at the station by one of the Golden Gobi staff. The Ulaanbaatar train station is an incredible Soviet era building, all marble and chandeliers…stunning.
We hopped on the train and set off for Russia. Our sleeper carriage was fairly new and very comfortable with four bunks, our provodnista Svetlana (carriage attendant) soon had us all organised for the journey ahead.
At 9.30pm Svertlana popped into our compartment to tell us we were approaching the border, she also told us to hide our bottle of vodka.
5 Hours Later……
We had heard stories about how long it took to cross the the Mongolia / Russia border and they were right.
The Mongolian crossing took about 2 hours while border control moved through the carriage checking passport and visas, they took our passports away to check and then returned them. While we were waiting for our passports we made our beds and got ready for bed.
The train then travelled the 40 minutes of so to the Russian border where an entire troupe of border control and army personnel climbed on the train and went compartment to compartment. I counted 5 different people all from different sections of the military.
First our passports and small entry card were checked very thoroughly and our passports were stamped. Next we had to open all our packs to be checked, this was rather tricky as the compartment was small and our packs were all stuffed away in nooks and crannies. Then we had to vacate our compartment while it was searched by a young army guy.
Finally we were able to return to our compartment and try to sleep. The train finally was cleared to move off at 2:30am. And more importantly the toilets were reopened which had been closed since approaching the Mongolian border all those hours ago,
After a few hours sleep we awoke rather groggily as the train pulled into Ulan Ude, the first major town in Russia. From there we travelled for several hours along the southern shores of Lake Baikal. It was a stunning train journey with the lake on one side and an incredible snow capped mountain range on the other. After 2 weeks in Mongolia it was very pleasant to see water.
We arrived in Irkutsk and hour late and were collected by the hostel for a whirlwind drive around the streets of Irkutsk.
Finally we were in Russia
For Information on Travelling In Mongolia Read Our Mongolia Travel Guide
For Information on Travelling In Russia Read Our Russia Travel Guides