Traveled as a family of five recently. The sleepers are nice and clean, well kept and all that.
Kids under 5 does not need a separate bed. I couldn’t figure how to get a ticket for the youngest so I bought the tickets online and went down to Almaty-2 to get the last kid’s. After some google translate I got it for 600 tg, bring passport for the kid.
The train has a nice restaurant and it wasn’t very crowded.
Lots of people only go to Shymkent (or wherever) so it was pretty empty when we arrived in Tashkent. In other words we should’ve had some breakfast on the train (we thought it would be too crowded).
There’s some fellows on the train exchanging tenge to som early in the morning, I was too tired to figure out how bad the rate he gave me was but I didn’t exchange much either. It was harder than I thought to exchange tenge to soms in the banking district here, and I got a really bad exchange rate at the NBU-headquarters, so it might be an idea to haggle with the exchange guy.
There is plenty of water dispensers so you don’t have to pack up on water. Bring a water bottle though, they ran out of cups pretty fast.
The AC on the train was horribly cold, and the knob to change the temperature didn’t do anything. Be sure to pack pants and a sweater.
There are illuminated lamp buttons for every bed but they are HORRIBLY bright. So bright they all have old glue marks around them. Bring some extra bandaids or something (or a sleep mask) because someone was so proud of those blue illuminated buttons that you’re gonna suffer.
The passport check is pretty tedious, and it dragged out so we were almost an hour late to Tashkent. The border guards were really nice though, and they had a cocker spaniel with a pink collar as a K9. They sent in a young guy who spoke a bit of English for the “what are you doing in Uzbekistan” interview, and when I complimented on his English he blushed like a little girl, so cute. The Kazak border guard was almost more strict than the Uzbek, and the train staff seemed really stressed out about the Uzbek border police, but everything seemed fine to us. Beware that you can’t go to the bathroom during the check so make sure to go before!
The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
Kids under 5 can sleep in their parents bed, you can go to the Almaty-2 station and sort this out. It costs like 600 tenge for a ticket for kids. But beware it’s really small beds for two, our two year old and my short wife had to sleep head to foot. So with a four year old it might be better to book one extra bed in another cabin, just beware it might not be popular for the other passengers in that cabin to come and go during the night.
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