Buying Trans-SIberian Tickets Online
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 25, 2012 4:21 AM Last Post By: tessajane
Oct 18, 2012 5:49 AM
Buying Trans-SIberian Tickets OnlineHi! My name is Tessa and would appreciate some clarification on Trans-Siberian tickets and visas. In December I will be taking the train from Beijing to Moscow with my partner (we are both Australian, and both hold an EU passport as well).
I’ve been doing lots of reading on these forums and elsewhere and have decided to purchase tickets individually rather than with an agent or tour, and I just want to make sure our plans are ‘correct’ as far as bureaucracy and not getting stuck in Siberia without a ticket!
We will be coming to China from Vietnam and our application for a Chinese visa is currently being processed here in Aus. We plan to take train #3 from Beijing to Irkutsk on the 19th of December. We plan to purchase these 2 tickets via CITS next week. As far as I understand from the website, I get emailed an e-voucher (which I can use as proof of entry for the Russian Visa), and then we pick up the tickets in person in Beijing in December?
Then we will be doing Irkutsk to Moscow on 23rd of December on the Rossiya train. From reading these forums and having a go on the rzd site (ample use of google translate!) we can buy those tickets online 45 days before departure? Is it the same situation as with the Chinese ticket (you get emailed a voucher then swap that for a ticket at the station in Irkutsk?).
The other question I had was regarding visas. As I mentioned, our Chinese visas are currently being processed. There ended up being a few delays with the applications getting started in Canberra so I was thinking instead of waiting to get our Australian passports back, we could use our EU passports to apply for Russian visas. I have a UK passport and my partner has a Polish passport. From looking at the Embassy website, it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle ($40 cheaper with a polish passport!) and it might put my mind at ease r.e. processing times (we leave mid-November). I was just wondering whether it would cause any confusion at border crossings if we have a Chinese visa in 1 passport and the Russian in another?
I appreciate all the help, sorry for my long winded explanations!
Tessa & Bart
Oct 18, 2012 5:56 AM
Oct 18, 2012 10:55 AM
First off, the #3 train goes through Mongolia and you will both need visas for Mongolia. Second, no one cares which passport has the visa BUT, and this is a big but, you may not be able to apply for the visa with your UK passport nor your partner with a Polish passport because the Russians require that you apply in the country of your passport or official residence and you are Australian residents so your UK or Polish passports won't show residency.
Also whatever savings your partner might have with a Polish passport, you will pay considerably more with a UK passport.
Bring a deck of cards, paper to communicate with people who don't speak English, postcards of home to have conversations and to give people you meet with your name and contact information, books but not e-readers.
There may not be an outlet (power point) in your compartment on the #3 train unless you are traveling deluxe. Same with the Rossiya.
Bring comfortable casual clothes to wear while on the train. Everyone changes clothes once the train is underway. Slippers or some casual shoes you can slip on are a good idea as well. Train is often very warm but near the windows it can be quite drafty so sometimes a knit cap can be nice at night.
Don't expect to take pictures from the windows - often they aren't clean enough for this.
Oct 19, 2012 1:49 AM
Additional info about buying tickets on RZD website. You have to register first before you can make any booking. You can print your vouchers (with barcode) after payment is confirmed or just write down the 14 digits voucher number. When you arrive at Irkutst station, go to ticketing area and find red-grey machines (look like ATM). Scan the barcode or key in the 14 digits number and your passport number.
RZD won't email you the ticket vouchers/ booking confirmation.
all your vouchers will be stored in your RZD account so if you lost the hard copies you just need to log in and print again.
Have a nice trip :)
Oct 20, 2012 12:56 AM
Oct 20, 2012 6:47 AM
5I would also suggest getting easily washable shoes (like flip-flop), even if it's cold, to go to the bathroom. Even though the train I took was no dirtier than any overnight train in Europe, bathrooms can easily get extremely dirty...
Oct 20, 2012 1:31 PM
6I find baby wipes indispensable for keeping (sort of) clean. Ear plugs can be handy. If you have space, the Trans-Siberian Handbook (Bryn Thomas) includes route guides so you can keep track of where you are and read about the places you're passing through, as well as lots of other useful info.
On the Rossiya there should be power points under the table in 2nd class compartments.
Oct 24, 2012 12:50 PM
Oct 25, 2012 4:21 AM
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