The Silk Road : FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Freedom of Choice Touring? 

Select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. In Moscow for example, you could choose to spend time in the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, which is not part of the standard touring programme; or you might choose to go shopping in the local markets and bazaars; or spend a day relaxing in a local spa (*treatments extra). In short, it means that your holiday is just that, your very own, and it's all included in the tour price, with no more for you to pay. It is the ultimate in flexibility. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring. Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day's tour.

Do I have to bring towels, or dressing gowns?

No our trains operate similar to a hotel. We provide you with bath robes, towels and slippers, so you will not have to pack these. We also provide hairdryers.

What happens if I have special dietary requirements?

Please let our reservations department know about any special dietary needs you may have when you make your booking. Our restaurant staff can cater for most special diet requests.

What happens if I am delayed or I miss my flight?

Prior to your departure, you will receive updated letters which provide you with information about your tour. In your final update pack you will receive a 24-hour Emergency Contact Card with numbers of our representatives in both the country of your arrival. If you have any problems please contact the persons on that card.

Where and how do I get my visa?

Most visas need to be applied for well in advance, and you'll need a visa support letter prior to applying. (Some countries may not require visas for some nationals). Please contact our reservations department for assistance or further information.

Is there a doctor on board at all times?

A doctor travels with the train and passengers at all times, on board every full train departure in Russia, the former Russian Republics, Mongolia and China. Our doctors are (highly) qualified professionals who are available 24-hours a day and are responsible for primary health care. They do carry medicines (necessary for their treatment), but if you are taking prescription medication, please bring enough supplies to last for the duration of your trip.

Is there any sort of communication links whilst on board?

Mobile phone coverage can now be found virtually along the entire Trans-Siberian Express route, however it is not continuous. We do not have a satellite phone on board the train, but the Tour Manager can be contacted in emergencies on the mobile telephone number provided on the 24 hour emergency card provided in the travel wallets.

Are there internet and fax facilities on board and if so, how much does this cost?

There is no internet or fax facility aboard the trains; however it is possible to check emails during certain stops en route. This may mean missing the excursion programme for that day.

Is there an English speaking guide?

Yes, we provide on-board Tour Managers who are fluent in English, and Tour Reps who will be at your disposal to translate should the need arise. Our off-train guides speak fluent English, and other foreign languages, if required.

Do I need to take my own toiletries?

Shampoo and shower gel are provided. They are our own exclusive brand.

What is the voltage on the trains?

The Trans Siberian Express has dual 110/220 voltage. The China Orient Express has 48 volts in the rooms and 220 in the corridors Two pin European and Three pin British sockets are available on both trains.

How will I know what clothing to bring for the various climates we travel through?

Please contact us for any questions you may have regarding temperatures. In general, Russia's climate features four seasons with Moscow and St Petersburg reaching 28 - 25 degrees Celsius in the summer, and sometimes well below 0 degrees in the winter. China's temperature is similar.

Is the water safe to drink?

The water on both trains is not drinking water. Your attendants, who are on duty 24 hours a day, will provide you with fresh bottled water round the clock. There is also bottled water in the bathrooms for brushing your teeth. In China this applies to both on the train and in the hotels. (In Russia this applies only in St Petersburg and on the train.) Food on board is washed with bottled water so please don't worry about compromised standards of hygiene.

What currency should I bring?

On board the train you will not need much currency, but there are personal charges such as laundry and bar bills which will need to be paid. Currency accepted on board is US Dollars, and we recommend you travel with small denomination, clean bills. For souvenirs and shopping you choose to do off the train, you will be advised by your guides on how, and if necessary, to change money.

Can I pay with Credit card and traveller's cheques?

ATM machines are now available in all large towns and cities along our routes. All the hotels that we use accept major credit cards. Travellers cheques are virtually impossible to exchange.

Is there a dress code onboard?

During the day dress is casual both on and off the train. In the evening we suggest smart casual.