Cheap train tickets Irkutsk-Chita-Beijing
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Jul 15, 2012 6:36 PM Last Post By: everbrite
Jun 16, 2012 9:38 AM
we're planing a train-ride-hiking trip in august. We fly to Moscow, go by train to Severobaikals, 10+ days of hiking, back to Irkutsk by train to Beijing, spend couple of days there and fly back.
We'll book the tickets Moscow-Severobaikalsk over rzd.ru. But for Irkutsk-Beijing we're still looking for good (meaning cheap) way.
I read everbrites/ruth post about crossing the boarder by bus. But I would like to go most of the way in kupe/2nd class so it would be an option to go to chita with train #12, take a slow train e.g # 322 to Zaibaikalsk, cross the boarder and so on. Does anyone know if this is possible/ how much time it takes?
Option 2: Book Irkutsk-Beijing over an agency. It's quite expensive (even realrussia.co.uk). Has anyone tried http://www.russiantours.fi (it's the cheapest one I could find so far) or knows s.th.?
Thanks for advices!
Jun 16, 2012 11:34 AM
1I traveled this route in reverse years ago. Several times a week there is a train from Irkutsk to Zabaikalsk from which you can take a bus across the border and then take a train to Beijing. Sometimes you need to take a train to Harbin and then on to Beijing.
If the train to Zabaikalsk isn't operating on the day you want to travel, then take a train to Chita and then the daily passenger train to Zabaikalsk.
There is a hydrofoil that operates a couple of times a week between Severobaikalsk and Irkutsk. The train between the two places takes a long long time because it has to backtrack to Bratsk.
Crossing the border by bus is relatively inexpensive and there are buses all day long except when the Russians and Chinese break for lunch which isn't at the same time.
#322 Train Irkutsk to Zabaikalsk (this train does not depart daily, the alternative is a train to Chita and then a daily train from there to Zabaikalsk) price below is July and August this year.
kupé 4703 RUB (145 USD/ 115 €)
plats 2684 RUB (82 USD/ 66 €)
Bus crossing Zabaikalsk to Manzhouli about 11 USD/8 €
Overnight one night in Manzhouli about 28 USD/12 €
Train from Manzhouli to Beijing
Soft Class about 627-675 Yuan or 99-107 USD/73-78 €
Hard Class about 395-415 Yuan or 62-66 USD /46-48 €
Total price second class 283-291 USD/ 208-213 €
Total price third class 183-187 USD/ 132-136 €
Jun 16, 2012 11:39 AM
2More - the 322 is the train from Irkutsk and it only operates a few days a week. It is not the slow train. The slow, direct train 650Ч departs Chita daily at 1400 Moscow time which is 2000 local time. It takes 11 h 20 m to reach Zabaikalsk at 01:20 Moscow time 07:20 local time. Cost for kupe in July and August is 1768 RUB for kupe and 1287 RUB for platskartney.
There are lots of options from Irkutsk to Chita depending upon the date of travel.
Jun 16, 2012 11:48 AM
3Buy the tickets as you travel. Get the pieces for travel in Russia when you decide your dates or on the red.ru website which is the same price as the station in Russia. Buy the Chinese tickets in China.
I think that covers everything.
Jul 15, 2012 4:14 PM
thanks a lot for your detailed answer. I'm just wondering, if it's possible to do the trip Irkutsk - Beijing without staying in Manzhouli for one night:
#322 arrives in 09:23 am in Zabaikalsk (7:23am Manzhouli time) - last Train leaves in Manzhouli 15:51pm (K278). So there is about 8 hours of time to pass the border. You think thats enough?
Thanks for your help!
Jul 15, 2012 6:36 PM
5The problem can be the lunch breaks. Because of the time differences, the Chinese and the Russian don't close their borders at the same time. So there could be the problem that you try to cross and the Russian border is closed and then the Chinese border is closed. OTOH if you can catch the bus right away, this shouldn't be an issue.
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