Me and a couple of friends have this idea to walk from Moscow to Beijing for charity. We are hungry for an adventure, and some self-inflicted pain. .
We want to know if there is any way that we can follow trails or something to Beijing, or at least to the border between Mongolia and China (I know the Chinese border people are nuts).
We had an idea to just follow the Trans-Siberian railroad (on the Mongolian route). Would that be possible? Where would the coldest part of the journey be? How cold would it be? How big are the gaps between places to get food and supplies? How safe is traveling in Russia, possible alone?
This idea is just in the beginnings, so give us a break if we forgot something essential.
Thanks for any help!
Wow: that would be an amazing adventure! I know by train it takes 6 days and nights to travel from Moscow to Beijing. I guess it would take at least 6 months to walk. It's about 9,000 kilometers (about 5,600 miles), so that's 31 miles or 50 km per day. At 5 km/hour (the average walking speed), you'd have to walk for 10 hours/day. Every day.
Besides time, money and exhaustion, the biggest problem would be visas. The shortest route between Moscow and Beijing lies through either Kazakhstan or Mongolia. So you would need a visa from those countries, as well as from Russia and China. Each visa would have to be for a few months.
As for how cold it would be: definitely avoid eastern Russia and Mongolia in the winter. It is unbelievably cold. I was in Irkutsk in August and I had to wear a winter coat! Seriously, don't travel outdoors in Siberia between November and March unless you have arctic clothing (parka, gloves AND mittens, boots, ski mask, ski pants, thermal underwear, etc.)
As long as you stay on the Trans-Siberian rail line, you will never be too far from human habitation. But I don't know if you are allowed to walk along the rail line. Maybe not. Some of those areas are pretty remote, and could be dangerous. Russia is not the most lawful society, these days.
I don't mean to discourage you, but it's definitely a trip that will require a lot of planning. I would encourage you to travel with a friend(s), learn some Russian and Chinese before you go, and don't travel during the winter months.
After a day spent at work day-dreaming and looking at info. here is my revised plan/idea:
Show up in Moscow in late March/early April. Start walking along the rail road and pushing for Mongolia. At Novosibirsk I would ditch the railroad, and follow M-52 down to Mongolia. My goal would be to make it to Olgii by October. I would then either winter at Ger camp that they have set up there for people to rent out.
I did a rough estimation from Novosibirsk to Olgii and found it to be around 700 more miles. Add that to the mileage from Moscow to Novosibirsk and I'm thinking around 2,750 miles in 7 months to get too Olgii. At that rate I would have to walk around 13 miles a day. Even that will be tough with bridges/rivers to cross and possible injuries. But I do know that in extreme isolation, if you have nothing else to do, then after awhile (or so I'm hoping) walking is what you will do to pass the time.
I'm thinking of bringing my dog that is trained to watch for anyone/anything suspicious. He is a German Shepherd, and very fit, so I know he could take the journey, it would just be hard to get the extra food/water. (I'm thinking a vest with pockets for him to wear that has his food/drink? That way he can carry his stuff). I know it would be hell for the flight, but having him warning me of intruders to my camp sights would be awful nice.
Also, I was thinking of traveling in Mongolia through the winter. It's really hard for me to get an idea of the weather, but I really want to see the Steppes in the winter, I know the sky is almost constantly blue.
The cold I know I can deal with, I've spent days in -30 degrees F wind chill, but does it snow much on the Steppes? I was thinking Mongolia was more Arid.
Lastly, because I know that anything could happen, if something goes wrong in the journey and I want to go home or I don't have time to walk it all, I will just buy a ticket at the next Trans-Siberia stop .
Do you speak Russian?
How are you going to communicate?
I mean, in Moscow it shouldnt be a big problem to find some1 who can speak at least some English, but small towns.... you must be a lucky one to meet some1 there...
I was thinking, if you have some Russian friend, get his mobile phone number so you could call him and ask for help when needed, at least he/she could explain what you need or what ppl want from you
leave the dog home if you love'im
leave the dog home if you love'im