i'm sure this must probably come up a fair bit on here,
We are planning to travel from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-mongoilan railway and wondered
where we should buy tickets from.
we obvoiusly want the cheapest price we can, but as this is trip is sort of our honeymoon we
didn't want to leave it to chance by buying the tickets in Russia.
I've had a bit of look, but most places that offer tickets force you to buy a whole tour.
we know it would be cheaper to book through a Russian travel organisation,
any tips on where to look?
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It sounds quite difficult for the time being.
Because of the Olympic Games in Beijing in August, China has imposed a more strict visa rules. tourists who want to get a Chinese visa must have a return airplane tickets reservation and hotel reservation. this implies that if you want to travel by train from Moscow to Beijing ,quite possible that you will not get a Chinese visa.
I can't say anything about what's happening with China and the VISA/Olympics issue, but the train tickets are easy to buy straight from the train stations in Russia. You'll need your passport to buy them (everyone does, including the locals), I can't remember what the names of the classes are now but there are generally three.
1st - Never tried it, but I believe it's a four-bed cabin
2nd class is the same, but with a little less frills
3rd is an open carriage of about 56 beds all snuggly fit together (I went by this more than the rest and actually preferred it, try it, you might enjoy the crazy Russian company).
The Lonely Planet guide has a good section regarding the tickets, what they're called and even a labelled photo to show you what to look for.
It's not hard to buy them, just pick them up on the day, or the day before travelling from a station. Oh, and only buy them as you go, don't try and pre-book a ticket for a place you've not yet reached, it's best to get them directly from the station you're departing from.
It's a really fun experience, I loved the journey, and the company of the Russian crowd.
Hey man, here is a great article that was written in the wiki guide that might help you.
[ Edit: Edited on May 1, 2008, at 3:44 PM by Lavafalls ]
we were planing to go end of oct beging of Nov,
then to get a train to southen China, perhapps to fly home, as we would be spending about 3-4 solid weeks
on trains if we didn't.
perhapps with the olympics it isn't the best year to go.
One way to go about it is to catch a flight to Bratislava and buy a Slovakian City Star Ticket. It is cheaper than buying the train tickets directly in Russia.
Im doing the trip st petersburg to beijing in July so ive done a fair amount of research. Yes, its cheapest to get the tickets at the stations but according to lonley planet, trans siberian handbook and waytorussia.com its pretty difficult unless you speak enough russian. This may or may not be the case, but they all seem to agree that the irkutsk>mongolia>beijing leg is worth booking in advance as it can be booked up, altho thats mainly during summer so you might just be outside peak time.
Its risky, but adventurous to go there with nothing booked, it could go all wrong or all right. If you decide (like me) to have a bit of a safety net then checkout waytorussia.com. I just booked mine during peak from st p'burg to beijing for around £450UK. Dont go near any of the all inclusive tours, theyre just so expensive, and almost a bit of an insult considering how much it actually costs! Well thats my pennys worth anyways
Let me know if you have anymore questions, its so difficult to know what to do, but just research plenty and youll be cool and no doubt have an amazing time.
Me and my girlfriend are doing this journey in the opposite direction.
At the moment it's getting more and more difficult to get Visas because of the games but even though they ask for "air tickets" they will accept train and hotel reservations. Some consulates will just take a hotel booking, it seems to depend how the person is feeling on the day.
One rule they have now imposed is that you must apply for the visa in your country of residence.
Another problem with the trains is that they are blocking all advanced bookings for international (all trans- routes) trains to and from Beijing from June 1st to sometime in September. They will make tickets available 3 days before each departure.
It should all be fine for when you want to travel later in the year but if not you could book a ticket from Moscow to Ulan Bator, then get a local train from there to Zamin Uud, cross the border to Erlian and then get a local train from there to Beijing. It will obviously take longer but might be an interesting alternative route.
We havent booked any tickets yet so hopefully things will go in our favour when we get there as we'll be travelling at peak time. Hopefully if all goes well it'll only cost us 160GBP for the entire trip Beijing to Moscow, stopping in Ulan Bator for a while.
I'm going to check out the 3rd class tickets now to see if we can save any more.
Hope some of that helps, cheers.