Trans Siberian Railway
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jun 26, 2012 3:23 AM Last Post By: everbrite
May 3, 2012 2:29 PM
Trans Siberian RailwayOk so basic bit of background info here, im an 18 year old male from the UK/NZ and i've decided to defer my university entry untill 2013 to take a gap year, the focus of the degree is eastern europe and inparticular Russia so i've decided the bulk of my traveling is going to be going around the region and id like to hear peoples thoughts/experiences/advice etc. etc. on my basic plan so far...
Fly to Beijing and get on the 21day trans-siberian line to St Petersburg via Lake Baikal [would such a trip be appropriate for a 19year old ill have just turned 19 by the time i go my russian is essentially non existant so will this be a greta hinderance? will i be able to meet new people as i'll be traveling on my own and itd be quite nice to meet some new friendly people, any other advice essentials etc please do say!! :)
Also ive heard that crime in major Russian cities like Moscow, St Petersburg and Kazan is quite bad, should i be worried and take extra precautions?
with regards to money, also, what is the best way to go about this i currently have a Visa credit and debit card and a couple of Amex cards ... will they be appropriate for such a journey or will i need to take cash/travellers cheques?
and yes any and all advice is more than welcome but the main point of the trip is to try and get a good feel for the areas, maybe master the language slightly, take in the sights and cultures and above all have a merry time on the aptly named 'vodka train'
sorry for the ramble but yes please do post what you think of this, any suggestions etc.
thank you very much!
May 3, 2012 3:22 PM
1While one can do this trip at any age, I am not sure that this would be my first choice trip for a 19 year old first time solo traveler Miles's you take a tour. If you take a tour, then you don't need to worry about the lack of language skills although I would still recommend learning the Cyrillic alphabet.
Not sure what you mean about itie being bad. Bad in what way? Moscow and st. Petersburg are relatively safe for tourists and travelers.
No travelers checks. Debit and credit cards are fine along with some cash, preferably euros, pounds or USD.
If you want to focus on eastern Europe then don't bother flying to Beijing and visiting there and Mongolia. Spend your time in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
May 3, 2012 10:20 PM
2Hi! I live in Krasnoyarsk. If you will stop in Krasnoyarsk, I can take you on a tour of the famous reserve "the Krasnoyarsk Pillars".
May 3, 2012 10:55 PM
May 3, 2012 11:24 PM
4Learn Russian first, then travel. If you want to travel with English go to Thailand.
May 4, 2012 5:35 AM
5No travelers checks. Debit and credit cards are fine along with some cash, preferably euros, pounds or USD.
That's all correct, except I would not suggest counting much on pounds cash. Pretty much every bank does provide USD and EUR exchange service. But finding one for pounds might be a challenge in many places.
May 4, 2012 12:51 PM
6I am 18 years old myself and will be doing the trans-siberian railway myself this summer (via Mongolia and China) individually.
Is this your first long overland-trip or did you travel before? I think experiences in the eastern bloc will come in handy when travelling in Russia. If you plan to travel this summer I would suggest starting your visa application for Russia as soon as possible.
May 6, 2012 3:42 AM
7Do it! At 19 I did Korea > Vladivostok > Khabarovsk > Yekaterinburg > Moscow > Finland > Europe... on my own for 3 months. First time in Russia, didnt speak Russian and I was by myself. Was scared shitless, got in a few fights but met so many entertaining/fun people. Knowing what I know now though, I wouldnt really recommend going so far east without knowing the Russian language. My main point of this is that youll be fine in Moscow and along the tourist route to China.
I still remember waking up from a nap, walking outside of the ferry that I was taking from Korea and seeing the big red Vladivostok sign which was barely visible through the thick fog. I was shaking uncontrollably thinking to myself, "Damnit mike, why did you come here." Little did I know I would fall in love with a country I once had little desire in.
On a side note, have fun studying all the corruption in University. I'm sure youll hear of it when your there but never did I imagine it was as bad as I learned in my uni classes. Good, fun and easy to read book is: Kremlin Rising.
Last thing, I dont think Amex will serve you well as everytime I go to Russia, its hard to use. Your better off with Visa and Mastercard. Do take more than 1 card in case one doesnt work! When I was in Yingkou, China all 4 of my cards didnt work. Good thing I had extra cash in my backpack!
Edited by: lakers6902
May 6, 2012 7:37 AM
May 6, 2012 3:14 PM
May 7, 2012 3:11 AM
10Well it was fast, before the ferry stopped running as everbrite said.
I believe, not positive though, there is still a ferry from Japan to Korea (maybe Sokcho). If the ferry does go to Sokcho, then from there you can hop on the ferry to Vladivostok.
Or you could go to Wakkanai, Japan, take the ferry to Korsakov, Russia and be on Sakhalin Island. From there, its possible to get to mainland Russia by ferry, train to komsomolsk-on-amur and from there, be in a position in which your able to get to different points of Russia via train. The only problem this way is for sure, itll be difficult to find english speakers. Well depends on your luck I guess.
On Sakhalin, I was able to find a few english speakers who helped a bunch! Even got a free ride from Yuzhno to the port city Vanino.
If you do this way, give yourself more time, isnt nearly as fast as the Vladivostok route and more than likely, youll run into some mishaps. I was delayed by almost 7 days from different minor problems, one of which dealed with customs.
May 7, 2012 3:26 AM
Jun 26, 2012 12:27 AM
I am an italian traveller and with my girlfriend i'll be travelling Moscow-Beijing overland leaving Italy on august the 2nd.
We already got the flight to Moscow and from Beijing, our Russian and Mongolian visa and a rail e-ticket moscow-irkutsk purchased through the rzd website.
It is now time for the Chinese visa..here in Italy they ask me for both the inbound and outbound flights...
I can just provie the flight back to Europe...can anyone help me?someone say there is no problem, other people say i need a fake bookin for an inbound flight...anyone recently obtained a chinese visa and can provie me proper info??
Any italian here?
Thank you very much in advance!
Ps. Anyone travelling same route this next august?!
Jun 26, 2012 3:23 AM
13Paolo - You can try by showing your Mongolian visa and your train ticket to Irkutsk and tell them that you intend to buy a ticket from Irkutsk to Mongolia and then Mongolia to China. If that doesn't work, then try to find a visa service or an agency that specializes in travel to China or buy the cheapest ticket on a budget airlines like Air Asia and figure that you will toss it and the cost is like the Russian invitation, simply a requirement to get the visa.
(5 star Hotel)
From US$446.75 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$132.06 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$35.00 per night