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Trains Between China and Mongolia

The famous Trans-Mongolian Railway, one of the branches of the Trans-Siberian Railway, is the most important railway connecting Russia, Mongolia and China. The line links with the Trans-Siberian at Ulan-Ude. Two pairs of trains run on the Trans-Mongolian Railway weekly – train 3/4 (called K3/K4 in China) and train K23/K24 – taking 30 hours to cover 2,215 kilometers (1,376 miles).

History of the Trans-Mongolian Railway

The Trans-Mongolian Railway was built in the middle of the 20th century, from Ulan-Ude, Russia, to Beijing, the capital of China, crossing the Gobi desert and passing through Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.

The Chinese track gauge is 1,435 mm. Track gauge in Mongolia and Russia is 1,520 mm. So the train needs to have its bogies changed at Erlian, the border city between China and Mongolia.

Russia/China Train Schedules

K4 Moscow-Ulaanbaatar-Beijing
Travel day Station Country Day Arrive Depart
1 Moscow Russia Tuesday   23:45
2 Perm Wednesday 19:48 20:17
3 Ekaterinburg Thursday 01:32 01:59
Tyumen Thursday 06:18 06:38
Omsk Thursday 13:37 13:53
Novosibirsk Thursday 21:04 21:23
4 Krasnoyarsk Friday 08:45 09:07
5 Irkutsk Saturday 02:28 02:53
Ulan-Ude Saturday 09:57 10:27
Naushki Saturday 14:36 16:26
Suhe Bator Mongolia Saturday 22:10 23:55
6 Ulaanbaatar Sunday 06:35 07:00
*Dzamyn Ude Sunday 18:40 20:35
7 *Erlian China Monday 21:00 01:20
Jining South Monday 06:08 06:20
Beijing Monday 11:40  
K3 Beijing-Ulaanbaatar-Moscow
Travel day Station Country Day Arrive Depart
1 Beijing China Wednesday   10:00
Jining South Wednesday 15:28 15:44
*Erlian Wednesday 20:18 00:59
2 *Dzamyn Ude Mongolia Thursday 01:25 02:40
Ulaanbaatar Thursday 14:35 15:52
Suhe Bator Thursday 21:50 23:10
Naushki Russia Thursday 18:55 20:45
3 Ulan-Ude Friday 00:53 01:38
Irkutsk Friday 09:37 10:22
4 Krasnoyarsk Saturday 03:53 04:15
Novosibirsk Saturday 16:00 16:20
Omsk Saturday 23:20 23:26
5 Tyumen Sunday 06:29 06:49
Ekaterinburg Sunday 11:28 11:58
Perm Sunday 17:20 17:40
6 Moscow Monday 13:58  

Mongolia/China Train Schedules

K24 Ulaanbaatar-Beijing
Station Country Arrive Depart
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia   07:00
*Dzamyn Ude 18:40 20:35
*Erlian China 21:00 01:20
Jining South 06:08 06:20
Beijing 11:40  
K23 Beijing-Ulaanbaatar
Station Country Arrive Depart
Beijing China   10:00
Jining South 15:28 15:44
*Erlian 20:18 00:59
*Dzamyn Ude Mongolia 01:25 02:40
Ulaanbaatar 14:35  

What’s in the train?

First class 2-berth carriages

These carriages have 2 berths in private compartments, with lockable doors; also known as deluxe soft sleeper. The upper berth can be folded up during the day. Each compartment has a power socket, a LED TV and a small table.

Second class 4-berth carriages

These have 4 berths in a private compartment, called hard sleepers in China. The upper berth can be folded up during the daytime.

A restaurant car

A Chinese restaurant car is added when the train is running in China, and a Mongolian restaurant car is added in Mongolia. Freshly-cooked meals are provided.

Toilets & shower

A western-style toilet is equipped at the end of each carriage. The made-in-China train has a shower in first class 2-berth carriages.

Hot water

Free boiling water for drinking is available on each carriage.


1. Several power sockets are available in each carriage. But you may find they are unable to charge your laptop, due to the unstable voltage. Remember to bring a converter.

2. Toilet paper usually runs out. So always bring your own.

3. Food onboard is expensive and there is a limited choice. So bring some food with you. You can also buy local food at platforms when the train stops.

How to Apply for Visa

You need two visas – Chinese and Mongolian – for a Trans-Mongolian train.

How to Apply for a Chinese Visa:

You can either apply for your visa via a travel agency or through the official website //www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/.

Documents you need for a Chinese visa:

  • Visa application form.
  • Original passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining.
  • Recent photo.
  • Itinerary documents, such as flight ticket booking record, train ticket booking record, hotel reservations, etc; or an invitation issued by an authorized travel agency.
  • Certificate of legal stay or residence status.

How to Apply for a Mongolian Visa:

It would be easiest if you arrange a Mongolian visa through a travel agency. The following documents are needed:

  • 1. Visa application form.
  • 2. Copy of your passport.
  • 3. Recent photo.
  • 4. Itinerary documents, such as flight ticket booking record, train ticket booking record, hotel reservations, etc; or an invitation issued by an authorized travel agency.

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