It’s a good idea to have a box of cakes or chocolates to share with your neighbors. The best times to communicate and discuss are of course meals.
What about safety on board for business? To be honest, I’ve never heard of a theft on a Russian train and the security is pretty good. No one can get on a train without having a ticket and showing their identity papers, and there is always a police patrol that comes and goes to check that everything is going well. Afterwards, it is better to avoid being too confident of course. For my part, I always carry my papers, my money, my bank card and my phone in a slung pocket. I don’t leave valuables lying around, and my camera and computer are in my carry-on baggage. For those who do not have peace of mind, it may be a good idea to provide a small cable and a lock to secure their luggage. In any case, do not believe that the 2nd class is safer than the 3rd: in the common wagon, things are ultimately a little under everyone’s supervision, while in a compartment, if you are absent, a thief may feel more comfortable searching without being seen by anyone.
Landscape level, we should not expect too much distraction from that side in any case. On the majority of the route, you cross birch forests and it is a bit monotonous. The best part of the route is towards Lake Baikal: that is to say between Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude, and between Severobaïkalsk and Severomuysk on the BAM. Be careful not to do these portions at night, it would be a shame to miss the show!
For my part, I find that a trip on the Trans-Siberian without stopping on the route is of no interest. So, of course, it’s an experience to live 5 or 7 days in a row on a train, but you will quickly find it uncomfortable and boring, and above all, you completely miss Russia. You can’t discover a country just by looking at it through the windows of a train.
Whatever route you choose, the start or finish will necessarily be Moscow. Although you can also start the trip from Saint Petersburg and arrive by train in the capital. Moscow is a huge and fascinating city, and I recommend spending at least three or four days there. Its historical, cultural and architectural heritage is considerable and I take great pleasure in returning there on every trip to Russia. Contrary to popular belief (another one!), This is not an expensive city and you can really have fun for less.
The most unmissable stopover, the one that is never debated, is Lake Baikal. It is a sublime natural site and one that alone deserves a trip to Russia. To do this, you have to stop in Irkutsk, and stay at least four days, because Irkutsk is not on the shores of the lake.