im excitedly planning my rtw for March 2010, and am looking at starting it in moscow and getting the 5 day train travelling down to Beijing. Has anyone else done this? I have only been on 2-3day overnight trains before- Is it best to stop off on the way? What sort of prices is the basic room? Im not bothered about no frills travel- all part of the experience- but I cant seem to find anywhere to book the train either..? Not doing too well!
If anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated
Wow, what a way to start a rtw trip! Sounds great! I'm also planning a rtw in fall of 2011 and plan on doing the trans-siberian also. Still trying to decide which way to travel and whether to go through mongolia which adds another day. Look at Rough Guides First Time Around The World - they have quite a bit of information on the subject - Pgs. 70-71. You will probably have to purchase your ticket in either russia, finland or beijing.
Never did it, but so interested that I have read quite a lot about it.
I know it's more than 5 days from Moscow to Beijing, around 8 if I am correct.
I guess what I would do and advice you: make some stops along the way: Jekaterinenburg, Krasnojarsk, Omsk, Irkutsk (and Lake Baikal) and some time in Mongolia will probably be nice as well. This way you break the journey into pieces and can enjoy more of the train instead of sitting there for 8 days in a row.
By the way, if you want you can also go to Vladivostok and travel by boat to Japan. Just an idea..
Have fun planning though!
A website you may be interested in is Seat 61 - has some good information about train travel including the Trans Siberian.
Travelnation do a good transiberian trip stopping off on the way etc but it can be pretty expensive.
I'm going to do it one day for sure!!
I'm about to set off on a trip from Thailand back to England overland and I am booking on the Trans Mongolian from Beijing to Moscow. The best thing to do if you are serious about it is to buy a book called the Trans Siberian Handbook by Bryn Thomas. I've bought a copy, Its the best book available.
Im planning to stop in Ulaan Baatar/Mongolia for a week and Irkutsk, Lake Baikal/Siberia for a few days. These are the most popular stopovers. If you buy the book I mentioned it has info on every town on the journey.
Seat61.com has info on where to buy the tickets amongst many other things. I have used Realrussia.co.uk for my tickets. They have been really helpful. They will send you the tickets if you want or issue you with an e-ticket that you can take to the station (which is what im doing as i'll be in Thailand) You cant book the ticket until 75 days before your journey.
As regards to accomadation. Check out hostelbookers.com . Russia is very expensive. Book ahead.
Another thing to consider is the russian visa. It is quite unusual in that you have to buy a travel voucher & invitation from an agency. This details your duration of stay, the citys you will visit and hotels you will stay at. It costs US$30. Realrussia.co.uk will organise this for you if you cant be bothered with the headache. I've organised it myself and will pick up my visa from the russian consulate tomorrow. I got the tourist invitation/voucher from waytorussia.com . This is simple enough and they will e mail you the invitation by the next day. Next you need a passport size photo and a visa application form which you can download from your countrys embassy online. You can only get a Russian visa from an embassy in the country of your own citizenship/residency. (Although im a UK citizen I was able to apply in New Zealand as I have a working holiday visa here).
You will also need a visa for Mongolia, even for transit through the country. And obviously your visa for China.
Hope this helps. You're welcome to message me if you have any questions.
[ Edit: Edited on 31-May-2009, at 20:32 by trainrider ]