If you are not paying $12,000 to $17,000 per person for a seat in the Trans Mongolian train chances are you have to either make your own instant coffee by your bunk bed or purchase instant coffee in the dining car.
The Trans Mongolian train journey is one of the most amazing train journeys in the world. Before we continue let’s clarify the difference between Trans Mongolian and Trans Siberian. Trans Mongolian travels through three countries – Russia, Mongolia and China. Trans Siberian travels through Russia.
The long distance train leaves Moscow and journeys for four days through west to east of Russia to the city of Irkutsk Siberia. If you are going on a fixed itinerary with a tour leader like what we did, you will probably stay two nights in Lake Baikal. Then you change to a Mongolian train in Irkutsk and journey to Ulan Bataar (Ulan Bator) Mongolian. After a few days stopover, take another Mongolian train from Ulan Bataar to Beijing China. That’s where the train journey ends.
Imagine traveling and staying in a tiny cabin or kupe with three other people, possibly strangers if you are a solo traveler. You need all the coffee in the world to stay sane and in good mood even if you are just drinking instant coffee.
Prior to traveling on the Trans Mongolian railway, our British tour leader suggested buying our food and drink supplies from the local supermarket. Instant coffee was one of the important items on our list. The tour company’s list of recommended things to bring were thermos, cutlery and bowls.
The tour leader said there was a samovar with free boiling water at the end of every car. This samovar is the best thing in Russian, Mongolian and Chinese trains. Not only was it a source of water for instant coffee, tea and cocoa, it was great for our staple food in the train – instant noodles.
We drank plenty of instant coffee in the cabin – a 4-berth sleeper with two lower bunk beds and two upper bunk beds. You can either purchase instant coffee from station vendors/kiosks or from the dining car. The most economical and hygienic way would be to make your own instant coffee.
We gave up good coffee and showers for a few days for an amazing time inside our cabin admiring green grasslands, barren plains, remote villages and farmlands.