Lonely Planet Writer

76-Second Travel Show: 'Here come the Siberians'

The 5663-mile ride from Moscow to Vladivostok -- aka the Trans-Siberian Railway -- may be the world's most legendary ride. It takes over six days, passing through seven time zones and connects you from Europe to the Far East, just past North Korea.

It's essential travel, but -- some don 't realize -- not always for the scenery. Often monotonous taiga forest stretches like seascapes out the window. Those who choose for a private cabin or to go without stopping -- and showering -- are missing out on the real attraction: access to bizarre Soviet left-over cities and, most importantly, access to real-live Russians (like those I met in the video on trips in 2005 and 2008).

I always stop off for a day at least every 30 hours, and happily bunk a bed in the four-berth kupe class to see who my fellow passengers are. As chances go, it's a far lesser risk than Russian roulette. Nearly everyone -- grandparents, science professors, gymnasts, drunk truck drivers -- have instantly welcomed me as part of the family.

Off-train invitations come too. Usually I don't know why/where I'm going, I just go -- and end up at a dramatically moustached bee-keeper's place outside Khabarovsk or on a wild two-hour driving tour of Novosibirsk.

Last week, the 76-Second Travel Show found a Chester A Arthur sandwich in New York City.


For more on how to ride the train, get Lonely Planet's Trans-Siberian Railway.