Train to Ulaanbaatar in November
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 7, 2013 3:46 PM Last Post By: mrmagoo
Feb 3, 2013 12:39 AM
Train to Ulaanbaatar in NovemberHi everyone,
I'm looking for advice on taking a train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar in November. I have checked out seat61 and contacted a few agencies about tickets and schedules, however I can't seem to get a definite answer to a couple of questions.
If anyone has any experience of travelling this route at this time I would love to hear from you..
I want to know if train K23 will travel on both Tuesdays and Saturdays from Beijing to UB during November? I've heard conflicting stories, some say only Sat, others only Tues, others say both!
Does $368 for a 1st class carriage on train K23 sound about right? This price is from CITS.
Also, am I unable to take train 03 on Wednesday since this in a international train straight through to Moscow. Has anybody been able to book a ticket on this before to UB?
Are trains on this line generally busy at this time of year? Should I hang on for discounts?
Any general advice on travelling this route at this time of year would be very welcome. I hope some of you can help me out!
Feb 5, 2013 4:12 AM
1I took this train in October 2012 to UB. I can't remember specifics but I think it was running 3 times a week then (Not that that is really any indication of what will be happening this year). I think I paid about 1200 RMB for second class. As I recall, first was about 1800 so about $280. Apropos discounts: I wouldn't hold my breath. The train is never full but CITS have a monopoly on tickets sales so never discount.
Feb 6, 2013 12:55 AM
2Thanks for the reply and your input. I guess I won't know for sure until they make a new train schedule for later this year. Yeah I noticed CITS seem to control the tickets and I couldn't find a cheaper alternative. They say there is no soft sleeper on a Saturday so its either expensive 1st class or hard sleeper. Any advice on how 'hard' the hard sleepers are? Is the extra money on 1st class worth it?
Feb 7, 2013 12:44 AM
3just to confuse matters, this is a Mongolian Railways train (Built in Changchun: true, but operated by Mongolian Rail) and what CITS call “hard sleeper” is, in fact, soft sleeper (i.e, 4 bunks in a room with a door). What they call “soft sleeper” is, in fact, luxury sleeper (i.e 2 bunks, easy chair and private toilet). 2nd class is more than fine Furthermore, given the fact that this train is ALWAYS under-sold, you may very well end up in your own, private “hard sleeper” room anyway.
Feb 7, 2013 1:00 AM
4In November, there are only two trains per week from Beijing to UB, the K23 and the #3 to Moscow. You can take either one to UB. You don't need to ride all the way to Russia on the #3.
You must buy the tickets for these trains through an agent. You cannot go to the train station and purchase them yourself.
There are several alternatives though. You can buy a ticket on the train to Erlian which is the town on the Chinese side of the border and then while on the train, you can negotiate with a conductor for a ticket the rest of the way to UB. You can take a bus, plane or taxi all the way to Erlian, cross the border and then take a local Mongolian train from Dzamyn Ude to UB.
Feb 7, 2013 3:46 PM
5Thank you both very much for the replies and advice.
Manchurianexile - You make a very good point about how the Chinese classify the 1st & 2nd classes and will probably go 2nd class 'hard sleeper'. Perhaps at that time of year (November) the train will be quieter and we may get a cabin to ourselves!
Everbrite - Thanks for the alternative routes & transport options, very helpful. However we will be on a tight schedule and won't have much wriggle room so will probably just ahve the one train booked in advance. Great info however that we can take the #3 to UB. That gives us an option of going on Wednesday if the K23 doesn't run on Saturday in November.
Will continue to plan but your input help a lot. Thank you!!
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