Is it safe for a young American male to take the trans-siberian alone?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Sep 21, 2012 3:05 PM Last Post By: Otford1
Sep 11, 2012 5:21 AM
Is it safe for a young American male to take the trans-siberian alone?I was planning to travel around Asia a little more this year, but next year I want to take a break and check out some of Europe. All the flights I am seeing from China to Europe cost a lot...so I am thinking about taking the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing through Russia and I will most likely stop off in Moscow over St. Petersburg because I love the architecture there. Then I would check out Moscow and then maybe catch a connecting train from Moscow to Berlin since I have always wanted to see Germany. From there I would just travel through Europe via the local railway/bus systems. I know that Russian people like drinking a lot and I can't drink because I have a stomach condition. Would I have to deal with being pressured into drinking vodka by random Russian people while I'm on the way to Europe? I hope that I don't sound totally ignorant. I apologize, but I am just wondering. I am also wondering if the train makes stops through Russia long enough for me to get off the train for a moment or two for photos of the environment around the stations? Russia has a lot of woodlands and I would love to get some good photos of Russia as well as Europe. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate information from people who have taken the Trans-Siberian railway or those who are just knowledgeable of both the railway and the countries I will travel through.
I am also wondering that if I wanted to stop off and check out some cities in Russia before I get to Moscow...would I be able to spend a day or two in those places and then continue my journey? I think I will need some breaks rather than a direct train ride all the way from Beijing to Moscow. I am wondering if I did get off the train and spent a day or two checking out a place...would my ticket still be valid to continue onwards to Moscow or would I have to buy a new ticket? There must be an option besides the direct route with no breaks, but I can't seem to find it online anywhere.
Here is a map of the railway system, in case anyone is unclear of the route:
Edited by: restlesshobo
Edited by: restlesshobo
Sep 11, 2012 5:58 AM
1Ok I found this:
During your journey via The Trans-Siberian you may get off the train and take a different train as many times as you want to. However, to do so, you will have to book your seats (your beds, as they are sleeper cars) according to the number of stops and trains you are planning to take. Your ticket should come in two parts. Your first part is your actual ticket (its called bilet), which is valued for 3 months from the time of purchase. This part is a confirmation of your route. The second part is a reservation coupon (platscarta). It will specify the exact date and time you are boarding your train. It also serves as a reservation of your seat/bed in a train compartment. You may have as many reservation coupons as there are stops. So if you are planning to get off on every stop and catch a different train it is perfectly ok to do so. Of course, you still need to stick to your actual route. We would call this tricky process Your Individual Combination. You will have to decide where and for how long you would like to stop and book your reservation accordingly. Please refer to the tickets price list below for particular stops.
I guess the total cost of the route ticket would just add up depending on how many stops you want make and it seems that would just have to book your route and all the stops all at once. So it seems as long as you don't deviate from the general route you booked, you can stop off at as many cities as you want as long as you booked seats/beds from one stop to another? I would appreciate the details about this from the experts on here haha.
Sep 11, 2012 8:14 AM
2To make a few things clear:
First, there are very few stops longer than a few minutes on the Transmongolian or Transsiberian train. If you want to visit a place, it means a stopover for a day or overnight , depends of the city and train timing.
Second, you will have to book independantly each leg, in advance, or on the same day ( which means no garanty of a seat). The more you stop, the more expensive it becomes. There are, of course, numerous options (search this branch for instance)
Third, drinking: it will not be rude to refuse, and not all russians are drunks! If you travel in platskartny (3rd class) it's better and more interesting to socialize a bit, you will be asked questions, offered food and probably drinks, not always alcohol. It's also a good idea to have some stuff to "return" the offer...
Land travel from China to Europe will NOT be cheaper than flying, but you have a very interesting project there.
Sep 11, 2012 11:11 AM
3So what if I offer nothing in "return" for what they want to give me? I most likely don't want what they will try to offer me, so I feel that it would be a waste of money buying stuff just for this reason. I not only don't want to drink any alcohol, but I don't want to feel forced to accept and give things to others. Is this something that I have to participate in to avoid trouble?
Edited by: restlesshobo
Sep 11, 2012 2:47 PM
4Russian train is point-to-point tickets only
In Russia there is a ban on drinking alcohol in public places
Every hour on the train runs linear Police
all drink vodka in Russia, it is a myth
99.9 percent of what you do not offer anything at all, because of the lack of English
Tips for safety:
Take the bottom shelf - your stuff will be much harder to steal from under the seat
Take only "platskart" - less offense
Buy tickets only on Russian Railways website
Sep 11, 2012 2:55 PM
Sep 11, 2012 9:01 PM
6Oh yeah...there is the Russian visa to factor in too. Well if I wanted to fly from Beijing to anywhere in Eastern Europe, where would most likely be the cheapest city to fly into? I know this is a general question and there are a lot of factors that effect the different flights costs, such as high/low seasons/ one-way or round trip/ etc. I will do some research on this myself as well. I don't know anyone that has flown from China to East Europe...just West Europe, which costs a lot more. Anyway, I might not do the Trans-Siberian for a while. I am much more interested in checking out a bunch of places in EU over Russia to be honest. I am fine with re-posting in the EU section if that is what I need to do.
Sep 11, 2012 10:26 PM
Sep 11, 2012 10:47 PM
Sep 12, 2012 5:19 AM
9'Is it safe for a young American male to take the trans-siberian alone?'
The scariest things I experienced on the TS was a very smelly pair of feet in the bunk opposite for 3 days and a bloke that wanted me to hold my arm up like a rifle and pretend to shoot what think were Romanies (excuse me, I'm not sure if that is correct) when we stopped at a station.
It was in 1980 though. Things may have changed. I did lose a tape player if I remember correctly and Peeva was found in only one stop in 10 days.
Sep 12, 2012 9:31 AM
Sep 16, 2012 1:37 PM
11The TS might have changed since I did it 30 yrs ago, but getting off to take photos had a caveat: back then when the train wanted to leave a way station, sometimes it just started going, no whistle, no bell, no warning shouts, at least they always left the door open for latecomers to leap aboard...
Sep 21, 2012 3:05 PM
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.60 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$132.11 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.45 per night