Most of the tourists that come to Russia end up taking an overnight train at least once to experience it. It is one of the things that Russia is famous for – it’s railway system which is the longest in the world. No wonder, every year millions of passengers travel by trains in Russia.
What do you think people do when on the overnight train? How do you survive long days in the train when traveling the Trans-Siberian railway for a week?
Here, in this article, I’ll give you 10 ideas of things to do while on the train in Russia.
Beat the boredom with these tips from Russianblogger!
1. Enjoy the scenery
It’s an obvious thing to do when you are on the train – you look out of the window. You’ll soon get bored because the scenery is mostly the same throughout Russia – lots of forests, fields, half-empty villages… A fan part is when trains cross big rivers like Volga, Ob, Enisey, Amur via bridges.
The best scenic views on the Trans-Siberian route could be seen from the train when going along the shore of Lake Baikal between cities Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. I highly recommend everyone to take a train on that route, it’s very pretty!
2. Read a book
Being on the train is the perfect time to read some Russian classics like “War and Peace” by Tolstoy or “The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoevsky. I mean, when you are on the train for almost a week, it might be just enough time to finish reading one before you reach your destination.
3. Watch a movie/TV show
It’s something to do when you need to kill time or you are tired of doing useful things. Make sure to download plenty of movies and TV shows on your electronics before you board the train.
Just a heads up, that depending on the train, you might not be able to charge your electronic devices. There is usually a few outlets in each car but they are not always in working condition. And even if there is one, you will probably have to fight for it with the other passengers. The struggle is real!
4. Play cards with locals
A lot of Russians play cards when they are traveling by train.
The most popular card game in Russia called “Durak” (“fool”). What is this game about? The object of the game is to get rid of all one’s cards. At the end of the game, the last player with cards in their hand is the fool. You can find out more about the rules of the “Durak” game on Wikipedia.
5. Walk around at the longer stops
While on the train for a while, you will probably want to go outside for a bit to get some fresh air. Likely, trains in Russia make a lot of stops which are 20, 30 or even 40 minutes long.
You are allowed to get off the train and walk around on the platform during such stops. Get some food, snacks, water or ice cream from locals selling on the platform.
Make sure to come back to your train on-time, because it will leave with or without you.
6. Check out the restaurant on the train
All overnight trains in Russia have a restaurant car, where you can get some normal food (soups, salads, hot dishes). They sell alcohol as well (you might need that to help you sleep).
Take a walk to the restaurant and have a decent lunch/dinner if you didn’t bring any food with you on the train.
7. Make your sleeping record
Yup, one time I slept on the train for like 15 hours straight – it was after a very long travel day from the overseas.
When there is not so much to do, make sure to catch up on the sleep and get some rest before your new adventures!
Just a heads up – some people have a hard time sleeping on the train in Russia. Trains are very noisy and other passengers around you might be snoring loud as well. If you are not a deep sleeper, bring on the train with you an eye-mask and some ear-plugs.
Another tip to help you sleep better is to avoid getting tickets at the very back of the car by the toilet.
8. Do a further research on the place you are going to visit next
When traveling the Trans-Siberian railway, you will most likely be making stops on the way. Why not spend the time to learn more about places you are soon going to visit?
You’ll have plenty of time to think over your itinerary and places you would like to visit. As a tip, I recommend you to check out my post about 20 interesting cities in Russia besides Moscow and St. Petersburg.
9. Write a travel blog about your adventures in Russia
Even if you don’t have a travel blog at the moment, why not start writing one about your adventures in Russia?
You can also share your travel stories, reports and tips on different travel resources and forums. If you wish, I can post your original story on Russianblogger.me – please, contact me about it first.
10. Edit your pictures
If you are taking professional pictures, you know that it takes a while to edit them. While you are on the train and have nothing else to do, use this time wisely to do picture editing.
These are some of the things you can do when traveling by train in Russia.
What was your experience with the Russian trains? What did you do on the train? Were you really bored?
Make sure to comment below!