I'm wondering if anyone could give me good tips on travelling by train from Europe to Asia through Russia, I'll be a female solo and I'm slightly worried about safety (I've looked it up online but I'm still not convinced).
Also would October/Novermber be super cold (and by super cold I mean -15 and below) or would it be warmer? I wouldn't be going north..
And last, any suggestions for interesting stops along the way to Mongolia/China?
Thanks so much anyone who can help
I did the train through Russia and Mongolia, as have a few others on the board. Now, I'll admit that I am not a single female rider, but there were a number of single females on the trip (mostly local people - actually, most everyone I saw was a local Russian). I never really saw any trouble - there were a few drunk soliders from Moscow to Irkutsk (I think they were heading to Vladivostok, but they mainly stayed in their cabin playing cards and being loud, not bothering anyone.
I went in late October / early November. I was lucky in that I got a bit of a warm spell, the temperature being a balmy 15 C in Irkutsk when I was there on October 31st. It was cold going through the Urals, but my winter coat was enough when outside, and inside the train it was always nice and warm.
For stops along the way, depends on how much time you have. Irkutsk is a good place to see Lake Baikal and Ulaan Baator in Mongolia is a good place to arrange a trip to see the Mongolian country side. I'd probably put in at least a stop between Moscow and Irktusk, otherwise it's 4 days on the train, and that gets dull.
For more information, I would suggest checking out the Trans-Siberian railway article in the destinations guide and my advice on the trans-Mongolian trip in my GregW's Trans-Mongolia Trip Report.
Thanks for the advice Greg
Well, for starters you need your passport details to book a train. Every traveller has to show his/her ID to the conductor and it is matched up with the ticket. So criminals have a hard time on the train, as people are easily identified.
The worst you'll face is probably theft in combination with alcohol. This means that either you get so drunk you that you are vulnerable or that you have drunken unwashed Russian men twice your age persistantly trying to hit on you.
Last advice: Definitely learn a few phrases of Russian in advance.
You might also want to take a look at this site: http://www.seat61.com/SilkRoute.htm
I find the southern silk route much more interesting, as it is less travelled, warmer at this time of the year and there is more to see IMO.
EDIT: The cheapest way to travel on the transsib is with a Serbian star ticket btw. Do a google search on how this works or contact GyuriFT on www.virtualtourist.com
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 20, 2007, at 6:55 AM by t_maia ]
I travelled from Beijing to Moscow in March recently. I must say that I didnt travel solo but instead with another female friend. March is supposed to be the low season because of Winter and all but we did meet a couple of other female solo travellers and soon became friends.
Didnt encounter any problems in the train, the locals usually just take another look at you but nothing more than that. Also, you would perhaps be comforted that the provodnitsas (carriage attendants) on the train do actually take a note as to the happenings around the carriage that they are in charge.
If you do not speak Russian, I would advise that you buy your train tickets from hotels. Some hotels do have travel agents who only charge a very nominal commission for securing the train tickets. It would be worth paying for the convenience instead of getting the train tickets yourself at the train station.
I've heard that the October/November time is the worst to go because as winter comes, everywhere becomes just dull and slushy.
March was very cold in Mongolia (-17 to -25 C) but it was absolutely fantastic with the sunshine and crisp blue sky!
I would also suggest that you stop along the way from Moscow to Irkutsk because the 4 day journey really does take your humour out of you!!
You could go to My Trip to find out more about my trip.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 24, 2007, at 4:18 AM by Not Lost ]